Vaccinating the LGBTQ Community

The LGBTQ community has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and PBS Insights examines LGBTQ people’s concerns about getting vaccinated and the economic impact it’s had on the LGBTQ community.

The report shows that less than half (42%) of LGBTQ adults say they are very likely to get vaccinated; only 29% of Black LGBTQ adults say the same. Many are concerned about the vaccine’s side effects and mistakenly worry about the cost of the shot. In reality, the U.S. government is paying for the vaccine, making it free at the point of service to all U.S. residents — but the survey points to major shortfalls in efforts to communicate that to the LGBTQ community.

Long-term financial impacts of the pandemic weigh heavily on LGBTQ adults who say the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak will make it harder for them to meet their financial responsibilities. According to the study, 22% of LGBTQ adults and 24% of LGBTQ adults of color are currently unemployed due to the pandemic.

Boulder Community Health (BCH) is committed to addressing inequalities of care for the LGBTQ population. The community health system has taken careful steps to ensure a welcoming environment where LGBTQ people feel comfortable and accepted. Educational materials have been produced specifically for health issues that the LGBTQ community faces frequently, including COVID-19.

In a video produced for the LGBTQ community, panelists from BCH, Boulder County Public Health, Boulder County AIDS Project and Out Boulder County offer detailed information on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. Experts share the science behind the vaccines and the benefits. The video tackles one of the biggest questions on people’s mind: How did the vaccine get developed so quickly?

In the video, Heather Pujet, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at BCH explains, “The scientific community and both the public and private sectors pivoted and spent all their efforts focusing on the vaccine. We also poured an extensive amount of dollars into this – billions – and we already had extensive mRNA technology to build on.”

BCH also partnered with Out Boulder Country to create an online COVID-19 vaccine resource center where physicians address concerns unique to LGBTQ people, such as vaccine safety for people going through gender transition and those who are HIV positive.

Through these education efforts and more, including conveniently located vaccine clinics and support groups provided by BCH, LGBTQ people in Boulder are finding it easier to make the choice to get vaccinated.