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Home / Health / Q&A: How the scars of the Flint water crisis shook the city’s faith in the Covid-19 vaccine

Q&A: How the scars of the Flint water crisis shook the city’s faith in the Covid-19 vaccine

In 2014, public officials in the state assured residents that their water is safe to drink. It’s not. Now, as the coronavirus vaccine is being promoted nationwide, some Flint residents are beginning to wonder whether the vaccine is safe. The hesitation rate is particularly high in certain black communities, which have been discriminated against in the U.S. healthcare system (and beyond).

Omar Jimenez traveled to Flint to discuss with residents how the water crisis affected their views on the coronavirus vaccine.

CNN’s “Go There” group asked readers to ask questions about Flint’s report: How do residents respond, and why does their skepticism persist? With the continuous introduction of vaccines, what storage space is there?

Can residents of Flint drink safely from the tap? What are the residual effects on children and younger generations?

In short, it is by federal standards. Does everyone do this? no. In 201

8, then Governor Rick Synder stated that after years of lead and copper content has steadily fallen from more than 15 parts per billion in 2016 (the federal threshold for action) to the following levels, It is no longer necessary to insist on using bottled water until the beginning of 2018, 5 parts per billion.

In 2019, the City of Flint issued a water quality report showing that 90% of high-risk samples were collected at a rate of 3 parts per billion, far below federal requirements. According to the report, the possible source there is “corrosion of domestic water pipes to natural deposits.”
Michigan states: “Drinking water taps manufactured before 2014 are allowed to contain up to 8% lead. This lead sometimes seeps into our drinking water.” So filters are still very popular.

Although water is safe according to federal standards, a small amount of lead is still lead. This is one of the reasons why so many people still choose not to drink tap water directly, including many children who have grown up since 2014. The approach feels commonplace. But more directly, the American Journal of Public Health found that after the city decided to switch its water source to the Flint River at the beginning of the crisis, “as the water source changes, children with elevated blood lead levels account for The proportion has increased, and water has become a growing source of children’s lead exposure due to ageing infrastructure.”

The city currently draws water from Lake Huron.

According to the CDC, the effects of lead exposure include: slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, hearing and speech problems, and damage to the brain and nervous system.

The most important thing is that if the children do not feel the physical influence, then the spiritual still exists. I interviewed a man who told me if his younger son could drink from a drinking fountain while visiting other states. This is an instinct that grew up in Flint for the past ten years.

This is the ideal environment to raise awareness of why certain communities are vigilant about the information being distributed. What Flint endured and continued to endure was devastating. In what ways can we help?

To be honest, a large part of this comes from being able to detect misinformation, which also put pressure on the community and asked the press to independently verify the figures of city and state officials. Flint found that part of the reason for the scale of the problem came from community-based reports. This is why there are groups like the Flint River Watershed Alliance, the Health Flint Research Coordination Center, and Flint Water Research. The latter exists as an independent research team at Virginia Tech to help research Flint’s drinking water problem.

I’m pretty sure you can donate directly to certain groups, but in general, helping is just not to let their experience happen in vain. Flint is not a forgotten chapter in history, but a reminder of the impact of cost cutting on real life at the expense of health and the pressure that communities sometimes endure to promote real change.

When you are reporting on this story and this community, is there anything that surprised you?

Yes, to be honest, this is still a suspicion. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “Oh, Flint has happened, this hasn’t happened yet”, which is correct to some extent. The water quality may be much better now. However, hearing people still do not believe that the sound of water is a face-to-face (mask) reminder, I need to fully realize the impact of this crisis on the generations in just a few years.

A person I talked to showed me the clay pot she still keeps in the bathroom to remind her of the time she used to boil water to wash her face. She no longer uses it, but it sits there as various memorials, a grave of a more threatening era. Then, when you translate this mentality into a Covid-19 vaccine, you can imagine why there is hesitation. There may be as many medical organizations as possible that have declared it safe, but for these people, they have been told that there was something safe before, but in fact it is not the case. Therefore, it is not that many people will never get a vaccine, but in a strategy similar to the peak of the crisis, they hope to conduct their own research first.

Do the residents you mentioned feel relieved when they talk about health and safety issues with people who are responsible for helping them stay safe and healthy? Do you see any level of trust?

This is a very good question. In general, my answer is yes. People watch the Flint Water Crisis from a close range, but in the rear view they look far away. I think the level of trust is not actually blindly following what those in power tell them, but combining it with my own intuition and community resources.

A woman I interviewed helped launch a webinar at the Health Flint Research Coordination Center. Part of its mission was to allow thousands of people to connect with them and listen directly to doctors and other trusted staples in the community. Voice so that they can balance their lives. Be told from the state and/or city what they might be better talking about. There is trust, but trust seems to come from various sources consciously, rather than just following one.

What is Flint’s standard of care during the pandemic? How does the medical profession treat residents?

Overall, the standards of care are very similar to what you see in most other jurisdictions. Not perfect, but it works. Speaking of Covid, like many other places, the county where Flint County is located had a peak in November and December, but it was able to contain their numbers, and even now there are fewer than 100 confirmed cases a day.

As for the treatment of residents, I think engagement has a whole new meaning. As people in the medical profession become more and more aware of their voice and importance, citizens are actively seeking more information. Even a high school student I interviewed in Flint participated in more health-related club activities, which did not even exist than when I was in high school.

People, communities, and health care all seem to realize that they have a common goal, which is not to go back to where they were a few years ago. Similarly, although not perfect (I am sure I will miss personal dissatisfaction), people in the medical world are participating in webinars, they are participating in community events, partly because the current challenges require everyone’s participation, and transparency seems Become a guiding principle.

I want to understand the diversity of these people who are hesitant to vaccines. In terms of education, economics, etc., which subgroups may be different?

Many stories can be told only in numbers. For example, as of February 25, approximately 50,000 blacks have been given the first injection, and throughout Michigan, approximately 560,000 whites have been given the injection. It is safe to say that people in ethnic minority communities are often skeptical of any form of vaccination, because historically, they are the people who have been exploited.
Of course, you have the horrible Tuskegee experiment, and even the treatment of Henrietta Lacks, but more directly, in Genesee County, where Flint is located, the vaccination rate is still relatively low, with a cumulative coverage rate of about 20%. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county’s white population is 75% and the black population is 20%. Obviously, it is not just a few people in the field who are doubting skepticism.

Also keep in mind that according to the state of Michigan, “drinking water taps produced before 2014 were allowed to contain up to 8% lead.” Therefore, poorer communities are more likely to use this category of taps with less lead. First, explain what the country might tell them to do.

For the record, all vaccines sold on the market under the FDA’s emergency use authorization have been proven safe to use through a large number of rigorous studies.

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