COVID-19 Vaccines and the LGBTQ + Community – Harvard Health Blog


I have a confession: in late 2020, when the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccines, I was hesitant to get one. Despite working in public health and firmly believing in vaccines to keep our community healthy, I was eager to put something in my body that looked so new. I thought, “What if the vaccine is dangerous?” “What about long-term side effects?”

I am part of the LGBTQ + community. Our story can help explain why I doubted.

Do LGBTQ + people have more hesitation when it comes to getting the vaccine?

In March a New York News article reported that LGBTQ + people are more hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A research study of the Human Rights Campaign reported mixed findings: while LGBTQ + people in general are more likely to be vaccinated, certain subgroups, such as LGBTQ + people of color and bisexual women, are less likely to be vaccinated. if.

LGBTQ + people have good reason to doubt vaccines. Historically, this population has experienced – and continues to experience – discrimination in a variety of settings, including health care. At the same time, this population is more vulnerable to COVID-19 (see this study and one previous block entry I wrote). LGBTQ + people who are also people of color may be even more hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, due to trauma and oppression based on multiple marginalized identities that intersect which set the stage for distrust in health and medical research. We can include racism, transphobia, biphobia and homophobia among these oppressions.

Weigh the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine

When I was trying to decide if I wanted to get the vaccine, I started reading about the vaccine from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I also spoke with people I know and trust, such as close friends, family, and medical colleagues. I asked them, “Do you want to get the vaccine when you are offered it?” They all gave me a resounding “yes!” Most share this foundation: although we do not yet know the long-term side effects, this vaccine is similar to other vaccines that have been around for a long time and the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks of getting seriously ill or even and while dying of COVID-19.

When I was offered the vaccine earlier this year, I booked the appointment immediately, without hesitation, and I didn’t look back. As soon as I got the first shot, and certainly when I did totally vaccinated two weeks after my second shot, I felt a deep sense of relief. I also felt empowered to take an important step toward protecting COVID-19 for myself, my family, and my community. I now feel more secure and free in my daily life. I go to the shops (with a mask) without feeling anxious and I was able to visit in person with other people completely vaccinated, like my mother, without masks.

If you have trouble deciding if you want to get the COVID-19 vaccine, this decision making grid may be useful (note: automatic download). The grid guides you through the short- and long-term benefits and risks of not getting the vaccine compared to the vaccines currently available.

Why the vaccine is critical for LGBTQ + communities

Numerous “pandemics” have already wiped out a large number of the LGBTQ + community: HIV / AIDS, violence, suicide. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has already disproportionately harmed LGBTQ + people (see this study i this report). Older people and LGBTQ + people of color they have the highest risk of suffering serious, life-threatening diseases from COVID-19. If each of us takes steps to get vaccinated, we can prevent more deaths and negative health outcomes in our communities.

How can COVID-19 be authorized for vaccination?

  • Educate yourself about what COVID-19 vaccines are, how they work, and why they are safe.
  • Talk to trusted experts and people in your life about your fears.
  • At this time, all U.S. states that are 16 years of age or older are eligible for the vaccine, so you can do so. make an appointment where you live get vaccinated.

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