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TN Politics: Addressing Myths Around Vaccination Rates

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Who is getting vaccinations and who isn't? That's a topic of consternation as researchers examine vaccination rates among different communities. 

In terms of race, some data theorizes that Black communities are wary of vaccines due to mistrust of government. But political analyst Otis Sanford says the more likely explanation in Memphis for why African Americans are getting shots at a lower rate is simply accessibility. The process, so far, has required appointments, time off work, transportation -- all things that make getting shots more challenging. That could change, he says, as the city adds conveniences such as evening hours and walk-up shots. 

Other studies show that Republicans and white evangelicals are foregoing vaccines at alarming levels. This, Sanford says, has nothing to do with safety or accessibility, but politics. "Spite," he says, could be keeping millions of people from getting the protection they need to keep themselves and their familes safe.

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher has covered Memphis news, arts, culture and politics for more than 20 years in print and on the radio. He is currently WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.