GSK hosts second “Protecting our communities” LinkedIn Live event: Addressing disparities in vaccination

On October 26, 2021, Judy Stewart, Senior Vice President, Head of US Vaccines at GSK, hosted the second installment of “Protecting Our Communities,” a U.S. LinkedIn Live series that brings together leading healthcare experts across a variety of disciplines to discuss how we – as a community – can help close the gap on missed vaccines. Joining her were esteemed panelists:

  • Reed Tuckson, Co-Founder of the Black Coalition Against COVID; former Commissioner of Public Health for Washington D.C.; and former president of the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science located in South Central Los Angeles
  • Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, public theologian and senior minister at The Middle Church in New York City, activist and author of Fierce Love

Watch the 20-minute US-only livestream, where the panel discussed strategies to address vaccine disparities and improve immunization rates among communities of color.

Dr. Tuckson kicked off the conversation with an overview of his work with the Black Coalition Against COVID, a community organization that aims to educate the Black community on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination. He drew parallels to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and the importance of a community-based infrastructure in partnership with government efforts.

Dr. Tuckson also discussed how the seeds of distrust among communities of color are planted so deeply that it makes the hurdle of vaccine hesitancy overwhelming. He reinforced the importance of bringing together trusted voices in the community – the faith leaders, family members, black healthcare providers – to help close this gap. 

Rev. Dr. Lewis also emphasized the importance of the faith community coming together to help address vaccine disparities and improve educational efforts. Rev. Dr. Lewis added how vaccination uptake is a “life or death issue.” She reiterated how clergies and doctors need to work hand-in-hand not just during COVID-19, but also beyond to raise awareness about all recommended vaccines across the lifespan.