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Overcoming COVID vaccine mistrust in the African American community

Local chaplain says to get the shot
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Posted at 12:23 AM, Jan 29, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Data from Indiana's Vaccination Dashboard show, so far, African Americans have a lower vaccination rate than their white counterparts.

Christopher Randolph is sharing his story with WRTV to try and help overcome the mistrust so many in the Black community have when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Randolph understands why there's mistrust because of things that have happened in the past like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. However, he thinks the Black Community needs to put the pandemic into perspective.

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"I think it's important that we ascertain that this is a different time and it's a different situation. Conspiracies are always going to be there. I'm a conspiracy buster," Randolph said. He's fully vaccinated because of his job as a chaplain at a Central Indiana hospital. His work during the pandemic has shown him why getting vaccinated was so important.

"I'm a chaplain so I'm right there at the critical times. I've never seen anything like this in my life," Randolph said. "I've been in three combat wars and I've not seen as many deaths."

Randolph has also seen the impact of COVID-19 in his personal life. His wife, Carmen, dealt with the virus back in the spring. She's still dealing with lingering effects.

"I get sad thinking about how it affected her when she got it," Randolph said. "My wife was just laying around for weeks and that was hard in itself to see. She didn't want to eat or do anything."

From his personal experiences through his job and with his wife, Randolph hopes he can convince his community to get vaccinated, ask questions if they have any, and make sure they realize what could happen if they don't take the steps necessary to protect themselves.

"This is the thing: it's deadly. It's deadly," Randolph said.