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Columbus Doctors Work To Boost Swine Flu Shots.

Minority physicians in Central Ohio are doing their part to spread the word about swine flu vaccinations. WOSU's Debbie Holmes reports the doctors are concerned too many African-Americans and other people of color are unaware of the benefits of the vaccine.

Customers at Debby's Wigs and Fashions in Mount Vernon Plaza expressed a lot of concern about the swine flu vaccine. 39 year old Kyra Scales says she is healthy and doesn't want to take a chance on any side effects from the vaccine.

"I actually feel that if you expose me to it than I'll eventually catch it."

Shopper Stephanie Scales has a grand-daughter who goes to school where a student came down with swine flu. She's skeptical about getting a flu shot for herself and wants to know more.

"With anything we need to be educated on it so we can make a decision because right now we're kind of going in the blind and it all sounds like conspiracy." Says Scales.

Those fears have roots because of past research that included the infamous syphilis studies conducted by the federal government at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

However, Doctor Augustus Parker says the swine flu vaccine is safe. He and a group of more than a dozen minority physicians in Central Ohio are trying to stop the disease from spreading. Members of the group rolled up their own sleeves to get the H-1-N-1 flu vaccine and to encourage others in minority communities to do the same.

"We feel as physicians we've done our research. We've done our due diligence to make sure that as is humanly possible this is going to be a safe and effective vaccine for those particularly at risk." Says Parker.

Parker adds that because of higher rates of diabetes, asthma,other lung diseases, and hypertension, minorities may be more at risk.

"There's a likelihood that there's a four times higher incidence that minorities will be hospitalized than they're white counterparts, and that's African Americans, Hispanics and Asians."

Parker says the physician's group is also working with local churches to boost swine flu vaccinations as they become available.

Debbie Holmes WOSU News.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.