INDIANAPOLIS — As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to more Americans, the Marion County Health Department is working to inform communities of color about the benefits of the vaccine with a new social media campaign.
They're using well-known and everyday Hoosiers to spread the information. IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson is one of those people sharing why she got her shot.
"Talking about what that means for us, the ways we can get back to our normal routines, spending time with the people we love the most, which was the most important for me, will hopefully compel others to say, "you know what?" I want to be able to have that experience, too. Let me call and make my appointment," Johnson said.
Johnson is sharing her story as part of the #GotMyShot Campaign, a social media initiative backed by 20 corporate, community, professional sports, and healthcare organizations and their staff who are sharing facts about the COVID-19 vaccination.
"I think it's really important for leaders to speak up and share their experience, particularly when we know there's hesitancy or when we know there are questions out there in our communities to the extent that we can use our voices to share our experiences and to help push out the facts," Johnson said.
According to the Marion County Health Department, 24% of Marion County residents have been partially or fully vaccinated as of April 5. However, only 10.4% of African-Americans have been fully vaccinated, despite comprising 21.9% of the overall population of the county.
As a mother, educator, and community leader, Johnson hopes that by sharing her story with people that trust her it will encourage more Black and Brown families in her school district to make vaccine appointments. She said it's the first step to repairing the damage caused by a pandemic that hasn't gone easy on anyone.
"I think that's the key to us being able to have a football season where we've got fans and folks can come together and root for our teams, be back, do the shows we've been doing. All of that becomes possible but we've gotta take this initial step of protecting ourselves and vaccination is a big part of that," Johnson said.