OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Locals who fall under minority groups in Utah tell ABC4 News that they have mixed feelings about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Residents say they are left with more questions rather than answers, especially with how the vaccine could impact the health of minority populations like Latinos and Blacks, who have been disproportionately affected by the virus, here in Utah.

Lizette Villegas is a Latino advocate out of Cache Valley and says many Hispanics are too worried to get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccination.

“I think it’s that lack of trust, misinformation, I think we are missing a lot of education,” said Villegas.

She says she and her family have all received preventative vaccinations for other diseases, but she’s not yet ready for the coronavirus shots.

“It’s just too soon and we don’t know much about it and it’s intimidating, to just jumping in because everybody else is doing it,” said Villegas.

Alicia Martinez, of Midtown Community Health Center in Ogden, says feelings like Villegas are completely normal but believes these vaccines are the only hope right now.

“There are a lot of questions and there may not be a lot of answers and that’s definitively the scariest thing and because you don’t necessarily feel like you can make that choice with the information that’s available, and not only information because we are being inundated, but digestible information,” said Martinez.

Unethical US Government medical research in the past has caused many minorities to lose trust with the public health system. Such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on Black men, which misled them to believe they were getting treatments they never received, the massive sterilization of Puerto Rican women between the 1930s and 1970s known as “La Operacion” and when thousands of Native American women were sterilized without consent in the 1960s and 1970s. 

“The biggest is that luck of trust, of we’re just going to get it because the government is telling us to get it? As we know with the Latino community, trust is very important,” said Villegas.

“I want to make sure that individuals feel like they can reach out to their primary care provider, or those trusted organizations, to get your questions answered in a way that’s digestible,” said Martinez.

Villegas says maybe one day she will get the coronavirus vaccination, once more information becomes available specific to minorities.

Midtown Community Health Center will begin distributing vaccines to patients in early 2021. Martinez says that will happen sometime between January and March.

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