Today's Medicine

Methodist Doctor Urges Black Community To Get COVID-19 Vaccine, Shares Her Experience

Published: March 15, 2021

According to a recent report, Black Americans are being vaccinated for COVID-19 at half the rate of white Americans. There are many explanations for this disparity, including barriers to vaccine registration and access and vaccine hesitancy. Methodist Women’s Hospital neonatologist Chinyere Oarhe, MD, shares her reasons for getting the COVID-19 vaccine and encourages those in the Black community to do the same when it’s offered to them.

When COVID-19 began spreading across the U.S., I was very concerned with the impact it would have on my family, colleagues, friends, community and me. I called friends and family and advised them to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to wear a mask, socially distance and practice good hand hygiene. My family made difficult choices familiar to so many others, like canceling my son’s graduation celebration. As the pandemic continued, we saw the devastating toll it had everywhere – and disproportionately in the Black community.  

Then the first COVID-19 vaccine came and was approved. To me, it was a major breakthrough and an answered prayer. For the first time, a way out of this pandemic was in sight.

As my colleagues and fellow health care workers across the country began receiving the vaccine, I looked at the data. As a physician, I believe in data. I could see that this vaccine would protect my patients, family, friends and community. When I registered for my appointment, I thought of how the vaccine wouldn’t only be protecting me, but it would also be protecting the premature babies I care for, their families and my colleagues.

As I sat down to receive my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, I was overwhelmed with joy. I felt peace and was grateful to God and to the great people who worked to make this happen. I didn’t experience any adverse reactions to the first or second dose, and weeks later, I’m still doing well.

I believe the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. I trust the science. Vaccination is a great privilege, and it’s the best weapon we have to end this pandemic. I’ll end with the same plea I have for my family and friends: Get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Together, we can combat this pandemic and save lives.


Know Where To Go

Many people find COVID-19 vaccine registration confusing or don’t have reliable internet access to make appointments online. If you know someone who is eligible for the vaccine but hasn’t registered yet, reach out to see if they need helping finding an appointment. Below is more information on how to register for a vaccine in Nebraska and Iowa. In addition to state allocations, appointments may be available at participating pharmacies through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.


You can register to be notified for vaccine eligibility on the state of Nebraska’s website. You can also call (833) 998-2275. If you are currently eligible but have not made an appointment, visit your county health department’s website for updated vaccine clinic and appointment information:


For Iowa residents, visit the state’s COVID-19 website for information on the vaccine and to find vaccine providers. You can also call 211 for vaccine information. For additional vaccine clinic announcements, you can visit:

More Resources

About the Author

Dr. Chinyere Oarhe is a neonatologist at Methodist Women's Hospital

See more articles from Chinyere Oarhe, MD
Dr. Chinyere Oarhe