YSN in Media: Nelson and Vlahov Engage on COVID-19 Vaccines and Community Power

Dr. Laron Nelson speaks to a TV station in Hampton Roads, Va.
May 3, 2022

Independence Foundation Associate Professor Dr. LaRon Nelson, PhD, RN, FNP, FNAP, FNYAM, FAAN and Professor of Nursing David Vlahov, PhD, RN, FAAN have continued to engage with media on the vaccine research published earlier this year with in a partnership with SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation). 

In this interview with Coast Live in Hampton Roads, Va., Dr. Nelson described three key issues: access and availability, language accessibility, and trust. 

“There was a serious lack of trust in the systems we had to rely on for this pandemic. Whether that was distribution systems or communication systems, and many times, health systems,” Dr. Nelson said.

When speaking with WKYC in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Nelson shared how the pandemic has disproportionately impacted minority communities, largely due to structural challenges. He also encouraged working directly with communities for better results.

“A key finding is that there is a lot of local capacity. There is a lot communities can do that goes overlooked and unrecognized that we can leverage better in this current response that we’re still actively doing but also in future responses. We should be able to see communities as partners in how we respond to national emergencies and not just subject to response. We can work better if we work with them,” Dr. Nelson said. 

Dr. Vlahov was recently quoted in the Amsterdam News article “Factcheck: False: People who have been infected with COVID-19 have a natural immunity to the disease and do not need to get vaccinated.”

“While COVID-19 infection results in developing protection from subsequent infections, the antibody response wanes after several months allowing for reinfection and especially with circulation of new strains, persons may experience new or breakthrough infections,” Dr. Vlahov said.

When Dr. Nelson and Dr. Vlahov presented their findings at the public event “From the Supply Side to the Bedside: Advancing Integrated Strategies to Promote Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccination,” they stressed the importance of matching vaccine information with a trusted messenger. 

“It is critical that we meet patients where they are and leverage diverse media platforms to connect with them,” Dr. Vlahov said. “Black, Hispanic, and immigrant communities are not always best served by traditional media or messengers, and we need to partner with communicators and platforms they already know and trust.”

The Amsterdam News is the oldest Black newspaper in the country and first began printing in 1909.