HAMPTON, Va. (March 3, 2021) – Hampton University School of Pharmacy (HUSOP) Assistant Professor, Deborah Hudson was recently featured in The Hill, an online publication, for her public health expertise and her ideas related to combating COVID -19 vaccine skepticism in the African American community.
“Congratulations to Prof. Deborah Hudson for her work in educating and raising awareness about the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,’” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “I, along with other local leaders received the vaccine. We received it publicly so that the general public can better understand the importance of getting the vaccine. It is my firm belief that the vaccine combined with adherence to state and local protocols will be critical to the world moving forward.”
In the article, Hudson discussed the importance of leaders in the African American community assisting with educating their constituents about COVID-19, encouraging them to take the vaccine, and combating deep-rooted skepticism that is the result of the historical mistreatment African Americans have suffered at the hands of the medical industry.
“The Hill wanted to learn the history behind vaccine hesitancy in communities of color,” said Hudson. “I spoke from the point of COVID-19 disproportionally affecting communities of color, explaining that vaccine hesitancy in African Americans exists for many reasons, including systematic racism and marginalization. COVID-19 has unfortunately brought those disparities to the forefront. Vaccine hesitancy also exists because African Americans have, unfortunately, been used as guinea pigs and mistreated.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, African American communities have experienced disproportionate numbers of infections and economic consequences. In most states, African American residents make up a higher share of COVID-19 cases and have a higher death rate compared to their percentage of the general population, according to data maintained by the Covid Tracking Project, a group of independent researchers.
African Americans are three times as likely to die from the coronavirus than white Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Hudson feels it is important to publicize the shots she received in hopes of boosting vaccine acceptance in communities that have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think that leaders in the community have to continue to come to the forefront on a consistent basis to receive the vaccine and to encourage others to get it,” said Hudson. “We need those change-makers to lead by example. I encourage everyone to take this vaccine. It’s very important because we need protection against this virus. It’s obviously created a burden globally and the way we are going to get any type of immunity from the virus would be from immunization. I have received my first dose of the vaccine and I am very happy to have been able to receive it. I have since signed up members of my family and when I find out there are vaccine clinics, I encourage others to participate. I am looking forward to my second dose. I had no unusual side effects or anything. This is a useful tool to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.”
Hudson joined the HUSOP faculty in 2006 with teaching responsibilities in the areas of public health, biostatistics, and health care administration. She earned her B.S. in biology from Hampton University and an MPH with an emphasis in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University. Hudson completed her post-graduate study at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Department of Community Medicine and Healthcare. With over ten years of experience in healthcare and project management, Hudson’s interests are in the areas of public and global health, health disparities, and vaccine-preventable diseases.