▶ Closing the gap in healthcare
Chanah Park / Cypress High School 11 Grade
Every October, I can rely on the same one thing to happen with absolute certainty. This was not an event I enjoyed although it wasn’t necessarily the actual act more so than it was the moments leading up to it. The anxiety I felt on the drive there, the nervousness I felt while my mom filled out the forms, and the silent distress I had up until the needle of the annual flu shot was just picometers away from the skin on my upper arm was a very uneasy process for me.
I will admit, with just a little bit of embarrassment, that most of this still holds true with the exception of one fact: I am grateful that I am able to be vaccinated for the influenza virus every October.
For many that come from middle-class families like me, the annual trip to the local CVS is no big deal. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case for many others. There are a variety of groups that fit into the latter category but the main one is ethnic minority populations. Although not justified, there are many reasons why ethnic minority populations are classified under this category.
Some causes include the preexisting socioeconomic disparities among ethnic minority groups, the fact that people of color are more likely to be medically uninsured, and even that some members of the colored community have a general distrust of vaccinations which studies have attributed to their greater distrust in what they believe to be a discriminatory healthcare system. Many health officials are worried that these factors will make it difficult to get a high COVID-19 vaccination rate once the vaccinations start rolling out.
When I asked junior at Oxford Academy, Lianne Cha, what she thought about this issue, she said, “There should be healthcare provided by the government for those in need, and vaccines should be covered.” Victoria Choi, a junior at Troy High School, said “I guess public health officials can work to make the flu vaccine more available to the public for a lower cost.
But I also think it comes down to if the people themselves choose to get vaccinated.” I agree with both in that vaccines should be more accessible to the public.
Personally, I am pro-vaccination. I do understand those that are wary of getting vaccinated but studies have shown that this stems from lack of knowledge on what vaccines are and how they do what they do. However, the bigger issue at hand is that people who want to get vaccinated are unable to because of lack of insurance and/ or money. This is what I believe to be the main cause of the high numbers of flu-related deaths in ethnic minority groups.
To prevent this annual outcome from happening with COVID-19, I believe that we should try to educate people in how this vaccine works as well as cut down on administration fees for the COVID-19 vaccine (a possible financial barrier) to break this statistic.
<Chanah Park / Cypress High School 11 Grade