HudsonAlpha holds virtual forum to lower vaccine hesitancy


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — HudsonAlpha’s office of diversity, equity and inclusion is hosting virtual forums to provide insight and education to North Alabama’s minority population on the alarming impact of COVID-19.

The goal of “A Path Forward” is to share the science, provide factual information and encourage people to make informed decisions on vaccinations.

“Scientists have shown that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than non Hispanic whites to catch, be hospitalized because of and ultimately die from the COVID-19 virus,” says HudsonAlpha Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Darrell Ezell.

HudsonAlpha Institute is partnering with medical experts to answer community questions.

“Be honest about what we do know and be transparent about what we don’t know. But I would put my money and weigh in heavy on what we do know about the good of the vaccine and the diabolical effects of the coronavirus,” says UAB School of Medicine Senior Vice President of Medicine Dr. Selwyn Vickers.

HudsonAlpha Institute recognizes that the volume of overwhelming information and inconsistency in early scientific reporting contribute to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

“Sift through that information on your own and evaluate the pros and cons of the vaccination for you and your family and those you interact with,” says Candice Finnila, PhD, clinical research coordinator in the Greg Cooper lab.

Dr. Selwyn Vickers says getting a vaccine is a societal issue, meaning the more people to get vaccinated worldwide, the quicker we can reach herd immunity and return to normal.

“We have to own a good outcome for everyone and that’s why it is important to reach out to the communities who have questions who need to have support to understand and to make sure they have access to make a credible decision and get the vaccine,” says Vickers.

Leaders of the panel say the best thing to do is candidly discuss concerns about the vaccine and seek information from trusted sources.

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