The Caregivers is a unique series focused on the challenges and triumphs of caregiving. These stories have been created through a strategic partnership between AARP and Word In Black.

When the CDC announced the first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 back in 2019, many of us were concerned about how to protect ourselves. The virus was new and its symptoms varied based on age and health status.

To date, there have been a reported 49 million cases of COVID and more than 787,000 deaths. We’ve seen nearly 200 million people–a recorded 60% of the US population–become fully vaccinated.

Across generations, there has been much skepticism about the vaccine due to the long history of disenfranchisement within our nation’s medical field. Research shows that Black people have had higher cases and death rates due to disparities within the system.

Dr. Michele Andrasik co-authored a report on vaccine hesitancy published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July.

“The contemporary injustices are forefront in most people’s mind,” she said during a conversation. “We hear about injustices, invalidations, hostilities that people have experienced yesterday or last month or last year in the medical system.”

Still, grandparents have been at the forefront of educating loved ones about vaccines by:

Listening to fears about the virus and vaccine options

This is the first step toward understanding what the concerns are and how to move forward.

Doing the research

There is a wealth of information available about vaccines, side effects, and risks for grandparents, parents, and children. Read the latest information from AARP about covid vaccines here.

Holding loved ones accountable

This includes weighing the pros and cons after researching the virus and vaccine options, then making a decision about how to respond and sticking to it. Many grandparents, for example, have decided to wait to have their grandchildren vaccinated if they are between 5 and 11 years old.

Being flexible 

The latest variant has called for additional research, which means that there will be new information available which will shape how we make decisions about vaccines.