With COVID-19 hospitalizations and case rates worsening for Los Angeles County’s Black residents while improving for other groups, the CEO of MLK Community Healthcare is encouraging community members to get vaccinated.
“We’ve got a community that is lagging behind in vaccinations, but is still having contact with people who are able to transmit COVID,” said Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of MLK Community Health Care.
The doctor attributed the disparity to a combination of difficulty in accessing the vaccine, and continued hesitancy in the Black community, which has higher level of distrust of government and of institutions, she said.
“I don’t think we have to reach all the way back to Tuskegee to have cause for the Black community to distrust government and large institutions,” Batchlor said. “I think we have ongoing challenges, and bias and discrimination that is still very much with us.
She said the disparity in vaccinations highlights the need for more representation in health care.
“It would be really tragic if we had another round of COVID that hits the black community hard,” Batchlor said. “So I really want to encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”