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Nonprofits working to get LGBTQ vaccinated against COVID-19

Posted July 31, 2021 2:39 p.m. EDT
Updated July 31, 2021 6:17 p.m. EDT

— While there has been a lot of reporting on how minority groups are affected by the coronavirus pandemic, there seems to be less discussion about one group in particular - the LGBTQ community.

People in Raleigh are working to change that.

The Ruby Deluxe bar is where you go for a fun time. But now, it is time to get serious.

The message was simple for Saturday's event.

"The vaccine works [and] the vaccine is efficient," said Andi Espenshade, with the LGBT Center of Raleigh.

Espenshade said there can be barriers between the LGBTQ community and the vaccine.

"It is less about trusting the vaccine and more about homophobic or transphobic experiences they may have had with medical providers," he said.

Espenshade said some people have felt judged or shamed because of how they identify, and that any barrier can be a serious problem.

Research shows sexual and gender minorities are more likely to have underlying health conditions that might put them at increased risk with COVID-19.

The LGBT Center of Raleigh and the North Carolina AIDS Action Network sponsored Saturday's vaccine clinic at Ruby Deluxe. The groups recently received a $100,000 grant to support these kinds of efforts.

Espenshade said they hope to reach as many people as possible.

"Folks who might not have access to the vaccine as well," he added.

Espenshade said the groups are planning to hold more vaccine clinics in the future.

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