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Jarvis Christian College working to change narrative of vaccine hesitancy among minority groups

JCC is also offering a monetary incentive for students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

WOOD COUNTY, Texas — Throughout the past year and a half, we've been reporting the latest to you on COVID-19 and vaccine rates within East Texas.

Most COVID-19 cases we're seeing are among the unvaccinated within minority groups.

Jarvis Christian College (JCC), a historically black college in Hawkins, hosted their third vaccine clinic in hopes of raising their 33% rate of students vaccinated on campus.  

While many received their first or second dose of the vaccine, they were once hesitant, JCC is taking the initiative to limit fear in hopes to encourage more students to get vaccinated.   

Junior Kumari Pritchett-Peters said at one point she never thought she would be getting the vaccine.

"I heard things like it, it'll make you feel worse to get it," said Kumari Pritchett-Peters, junior at Jarvis Christian College. 

Some say the cause of hesitancy is due to fear and lack of knowledge. 

Executive Director of the African American Museum, Gloria Washington says due to the history and mistrust in vaccines for the browns and black communities dates back to the early 1900s.

"Lack of communications and fear - we feared the inevitable," said Washington. "A lot of people relate vaccines back to the men that took the syphilis vaccine, they thought they were giving them something different. But it turned out to be syphilis. So a lot of those people died because of that missing formation, miscommunication. And that is a big problem."

Students are putting fear and disinformation to the side and going to more accurate sources of information. 

Some even experienced COVID-19 first hand and decided by getting the shot would be their best source of protection from getting it again. 

"I did experience COVID-19, myself, and I began to do more research after speaking with nurses and people who would help me through COVID," said Pritchett-Peters.

In hopes of spreading a better message and limiting the fear among brown and black communities.  

"That's what people do need to understand," said Pritchett-Peters. "And it's so true, it doesn't prevent you from getting it. But it lessens the chances of your death and lessens the chances of you being extremely sick. So that motivated me to get it."

To getting more shots in arms in hopes of a healthy and brighter future.  

"I feel great, said Pritchett-Peters. "I still feel like I'm in good health."

JCC is also offering a monetary incentive for students, faculty and staff to learn more about it click here.

The college will also be hosting a health fair for students and community members next month on Saturday, Oct. 15.