PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- Leading up to the first COVID-19 vaccinations, scientists and doctors have worked to reassure the public that the vaccines are safe and effective, but even after seeing hospital workers get the very first doses in our area Wednesday, some people are still skeptical.
In the flood of comments, our FOX 12 Facebook page gets every day, when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, responses vary from can’t wait to get it to you couldn’t pay me to get it.
On Wednesday, Oregonians watched live as hospital workers became the first people in the state to get the initial vaccine dose, but as for getting it themselves, the Oregon Health Authority has said 49% of people in Oregon weren’t sure they want to get the vaccine immediately when it becomes available.
"I just don’t trust it, it hasn’t been on the market long," Shannon Clausen, who lives in Oregon City, said.
She said she'd rather take her chances getting COVID-19 than the vaccine. She’s worried there could be unknown complications. She said in order to trust it, she'd need to see more people get it and what the side effects could be.
Nkenge Harmon Johnson, President, and CEO of the Urban League of Portland said it’s sad to know there’s a lot of uncertainty about the vaccine specifically among Black and brown people who’ve already been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
"Unfortunately, because of the history of sort of weaponized medicine in our country, there are lots of Black and brown people who don’t think they can trust the scientists who don’t think they can trust medical professionals," she said.
She now fears mistrust could cost lives.
"It’s a real tragedy because I think people will be harmed because of it, people may lose their lives because they’re not able to feel they can trust the vaccine."
At the same time, other Oregonians are ready to roll up their sleeves as soon as possible.
"I'm feeling very confident in what they’re doing yes I would take it," Jessica Bechtol said.
Clausen said if all goes well into spring and summer, then she might be open to getting it too.
"If more people get it and everything’s fine and they're healthy and they’re not dropping dead and getting ill or being hospitalized then yeah I think I will," she said.
Harmon Johnson said trusted health organizations in our community must speak up and say why a vaccine benefits different demographic groups for people to feel more confident about it.
OHA plans to promote the vaccine and build confidence in it, in a culturally responsive way.