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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

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

When looking across our society, vaccination rates are lower in people of color. There are complicated reasons for these disparities, including access to quality care, geography and socioeconomic status. There is also long-standing mistrust of the medical establishment that we must work to overcome. With an understanding that there is no one-size fits all approach to addressing the multitude of reasons for this, Judy and our panelists explored how can we – as a community – can work together to ensure greater equity in vaccination.

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.

You can watch the full recording of Protecting Our Communities: Addressing Disparities in Vaccination on GSK’s YouTube page. For more information, please also check out the GSK LinkedIn page.