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Spokane doctors address vaccine concerns in a community panel

The community conversation featured medical professionals and city leaders discussing impacts from COVID-19.

SPOKANE, Wash. — With vaccine efforts ramping up across the region - reliable information is vital for those signing up to receive their first doses.

Doctors and leaders in Spokane hosted an informative panel on Saturday morning. Answering any questions that marginalized groups in the community may have.

“There were 99 people,” said Spokane NAACP president Kiantha Duncan while describing the panel turnout.  

Record-breaking strides have been made with vaccine efforts over the last year.

Some people are hesitant about how effective a vaccine can be as the world overcomes struggles stemming from this pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there's increasing evidence that racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

That includes discrimination in healthcare systems and limited access to resources like clinics offering the vaccine.

“You need to get the information here from the doctors,” Duncan explained. “Talk to your clinician, talk to the people in the medical field that you trust.”

Duncan is the current president of Spokane’s NAACP. While moderating today’s panel, she worked with the Black Lens newspaper to field questions from the community. 

“What we saw was that there are lots of different varying opinions about the vaccination and rightfully so.”

Polls were taken throughout the conversation to gauge opinions from their audience. 

76 percent of the viewers said they were more likely to receive a vaccine after guidance from local health care officials by the end of the panel.

Just this week, a pop-up vaccine clinic opened in the East Central community.

More than 175 people received their first doses. Many had been unable to previously book an appointment. 

“If you have decided that you’re willing to get vaccinated, where does that need to happen for you,” asked Duncan. “Where will you be most comfortable?”

The next step following the panel is figuring out easier access to vaccinations. That may include more pop-up clinics at places like the MLK Center and the Native Project.