Home Health COVID-19 vaccines and the LGBTQ+ neighborhood

COVID-19 vaccines and the LGBTQ+ neighborhood

I’ve a confession: in late 2020, when the primary COVID-19 vaccines have been authorised by the FDA, I used to be hesitant to get one myself. Regardless of working in public well being and believing strongly in vaccines to maintain our neighborhood wholesome, I used to be anxious about placing one thing in my physique that appeared so new. I believed: “What if the vaccine is harmful?” “What about long-term negative effects?”

I’m a part of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood. Our historical past might assist clarify why I hesitated.

Are LGBTQ+ individuals extra hesitant to get the vaccine?

In March a New York Occasions article reported that LGBTQ+ persons are extra hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A research study from the Human Rights Marketing campaign reported blended findings: whereas LGBTQ+ individuals total usually tend to get vaccinated, sure subgroups, corresponding to LGBTQ+ individuals of colour and bisexual ladies, are much less more likely to get vaccinated.

LGBTQ+ individuals have good motive to be hesitant about vaccines. Traditionally, this inhabitants has skilled — and continues to expertise — discrimination in a number of settings, together with in healthcare. On the identical time, this inhabitants is extra susceptible to COVID-19 (see this study and an earlier blog post I wrote). LGBTQ+ people who find themselves additionally individuals of colour could also be much more hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, due to trauma and oppressions based mostly on multiple intersecting marginalized identities that set the stage for distrust in healthcare and medical analysis. We are able to embody racism, transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia amongst such oppressions.

Weighing the dangers and advantages of the COVID-19 vaccine

Once I was making an attempt to determine whether or not to get the vaccine, I started studying concerning the vaccine from trusted sources just like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I additionally talked to individuals I do know and belief, like shut mates, members of the family, and doctor colleagues. I requested them: “Will you get the vaccine when it’s provided to you?” All of them gave me a powerful “sure!” Most shared this rationale: whereas we nonetheless don’t find out about long-term negative effects, this vaccine is much like different vaccines which were round for some time, and the advantages of getting vaccinated far outweigh the dangers of getting critically in poor health and even dying from COVID-19.

When the vaccine was provided to me earlier this yr, I booked my appointment instantly, with out hesitation, and I haven’t regarded again. As quickly as I bought the primary shot, and definitely once I was fully vaccinated two weeks after my second shot, I felt a profound sense of reduction. I additionally felt empowered about taking an essential step towards holding myself, my household, and my neighborhood secure from COVID-19. I now really feel safer and freer in my each day life. I’m going into shops (carrying a masks) with out feeling anxious, and I’ve been capable of go to in-person with different absolutely vaccinated individuals, like my mother, with out masks.

In case you are struggling to determine whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, this decision-making grid could also be useful (notice: auto-download). The grid walks you thru the advantages and short-term and long-term dangers of not getting the vaccine in comparison with getting the at the moment accessible vaccines.

Why the vaccine is crucial for LGBTQ+ communities

Quite a few “pandemics” have already worn out massive numbers of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood: HIV/AIDS, violence, suicide. As well as, the COVID-19 pandemic has already disproportionately harmed LGBTQ+ individuals (see this study and this report). LGBTQ+ seniors and people of color are at best threat for severe, presumably life-threatening sickness from COVID-19. If every of us takes steps to get vaccinated, we will stop extra deaths and unfavourable well being outcomes in our communities.

How are you going to empower your self to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Educate yourself on what COVID-19 vaccines are, how they work, and why they’re secure.
  • Discuss to trusted consultants and folks in your life about your fears.
  • Presently, everybody within the US who’s age 16 or older is eligible for the vaccine, so you possibly can make an appointment where you live to get vaccinated.

Extra sources

The submit COVID-19 vaccines and the LGBTQ+ community appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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