An African American physician in Summit County whose story inspired many is now working to help assure people in the Black community that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.
Dr. Carl Allamby came to prominence in 2019, when he began his medical career after 25 years as an auto mechanic. Today, he’s in the ER at Cleveland Clinic Akron General, and working with the Akron Urban League to get out information about the coronavirus vaccine.
Allamby says there is still some distrust of government and medicine among African American residents, and changing those perceptions could take decades.
“The medical community has been largely ones where minorities have been excluded from," Allamby says. "And it's very difficult to walk into a place and believe that you are going to receive equitable care when very few people who are there look like you."
Allamby says officials should be talking directly with the populations they're trying to reach. But he said they can also lead by example – he received the COVID-19 vaccine himself last month.
“We need to go to different places around the community – not just stand in front of hospitals – but go to a lot of other organizations that may represent minority life, Black life, or multicultural life to show that we're willing to go to those kind of places in order to deliver the vaccination if we have to," Allamby says.
The Summit County Public Health Department has released a fact sheet about the COVID-19 vaccine to dispel popular misconceptions – outlining why the vaccine is safe and effective, and why the coronavirus is serious. The sheet also shoots down myths like the vaccine containing microchips (it does not), causing infertility or other medical problems (there are no major side effects) or that people will be forced to take the vaccine (Ohio is not mandating it).