- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 25, 2021

The mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, said Sunday his city is looking to boost its coronavirus vaccination rate by diminishing vaccine hesitancy among young men of minority ethnicities.

Mayor Quinton Lucas described Kansas City‘s failure to surpass a threshold of 40% of residents getting vaccinated as “painfully low,” in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“Young men of color is a place where we have incredible weakness right now. That’s why we’re not only being as creative as possible in how we reach out through traditional media but also concerts,” Mr. Lucas said. “We’ll be appearing and giving away tickets at hip hop concerts, country music concerts, any number of things that say to people that the vaccine is around, the vaccine is safe, and it’s important for you to take.”

Whether musicians prove to be successful messengers for government officials’ public health goals remains to be determined but recent polling suggests medical professionals are viewed as more effective.

The most convincing messenger for Asian, Black and Latino adult men is their personal doctor or primary care physician, according to a study completed last month by the African American Research Collaborative and Commonwealth Fund.

More than 63% of Asian, Black and Latino adult men view their personal doctors as the most convincing messenger for information on COVID-19 vaccines. Relatedly, a plurality of those unvaccinated respondents, 43.5%, said they would prefer to get the vaccine at their doctor’s office.

Fewer than a quarter of unvaccinated Asian, Black, and Latino adult men felt comfortable getting the vaccine in a hospital and fewer than 19% were willing to get it at a public vaccination site.

The African American Research Collaborative and Commonwealth Fund surveyed 12,887 adults online and over the phone from May 7-June 7, 2021.

If Kansas City does not find messengers who can help accomplish its desired vaccination rate goals, it may rethink its policies surrounding mandating residents get a COVID-19 vaccine. Mr. Lucas said mandates are not needed thus far.

“In terms of compulsion, we are giving more consideration to requiring all of our 5,000 city employees to be vaccinated,” Mr. Lucas said. “I think that is something. I do encourage more American businesses, more American local and state governments to consider that as an important step for how we can show how important it is to our jurisdictions.”

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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