By Paula Penebaker
A growing number of Black doctors are using social media to reach vaccine-wary members of their communities. Dr. Kristamarie Collman, a family medicine physician in Orlando, is one of them.
A TikTok sensation, Dr. Collman has reached more than 500,000 people with trendy videos, in which she pokes holes in common misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I felt as though it was my responsibility as a physician to make sure that I was spreading correct information, especially on social media,” Dr. Collman said in a recent interview. “I want people to know that as a Black woman, as a Black physician, that I hear them, and I understand their hesitancy. I understand their concerns.”
Black Americans are more likely than whites to report poor interactions with their physicians.
These personal experiences — rather than wrongs of the past — tend to heighten their distrust of the health care system and lead to skepticism about COVID vaccines.
One in 275 Black Americans have died of COVID. Compared to other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., Black Americans have been contracting COVID, becoming severely ill, and dying at a higher rate.
“We can’t control a lot of things, but we can control our decision to get the vaccine,” Dr. Collman said.
Her commitment to trusted, science-based information on COVID vaccines has landed her in Bustle, NBC, Popsugar, NPR, and Women’s Health Magazine.
Dr. Collman also has a blog called “The Glow Up” and wrote a book titled, “Glow Up Your Life: The Rx for Looking and Feeling Good from the Inside Out.”
Health care heroes like Dr. Collman and others are helping to bridge the gap for Black communities nationwide.
Updated COVID vaccines are currently free and widely available. To find a vaccine location, visit vaccines.gov. For more information about Dr. Collman, follow her on TikTok @rkristamarie or visit her website at drkristamariecollman.com.
Paula Penebaker is a writer at CMRignite, a strategic marketing agency and a partner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services We Can Do This COVID-19 public education campaign.