Two-thirds of white people are vaccinated. Two-thirds of Black people are not.

How Dane County doctors, community groups are working to improve vaccine access

MADISON, Wis.– Approximately two-thirds of white people in Dane County are fully vaccinated against COVID, while two-thirds of Black people are not.

Doctors say they understand the hesitancy, much of it rooted in our country’s racist history, that’s causing many Black people not to want the vaccine. With the delta variant spreading, they’re sharing information about why this vaccine is different… and safe.

Part of the problem is accessibility, according to doctors and local community groups. While many white people take for granted the ability to go and get a vaccine, many Black people may not have a doctor to go to, or easy Internet access to find one.

“It’s important to work with those community groups who are working directly with people who are getting vaccinated at a much lower rate,” said Dr. Jeff Pothof, UW Health.

Local groups like the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County have been helping debunk COVID misinformation and bring the vaccine into BIPOC communities throughout the pandemic.

“We are not here to tell you what to do,” explained Dr. Sarah Ghee, Chief Diversity Officer at the BGCDC, “We are here to make sure you have the information you need to make an informed decision.”

As demand for the vaccine dwindles, the Boys & Girls Club is pivoting: from scheduling appointments to sharing information. Ghee says her non-profit’s most important work now happens outside of clinics, during town halls, game nights, community walks, panels with doctors, etc.

Click here for a list of local programs hosted by the non-profit.

If demand goes up, Ghee says the Boys & Girls Club is prepared to host another pop-up clinic “in a second,” but in the meantime, you can find your nearest vaccination site here.

Remember: the COVID vaccine is free, and there are both one and two-shot options available.

“I do think we’re in a state right now that if you want to be vaccinated, with fairly little effort, you can get that done,” assured Dr. Pothof.

LEARN MORE: CDC, Wisconsin doctors say nearly every COVID death is preventable, if you’re vaccinated