Last fall, more than three-quarters of Shortridge students were Black or Latino. Lee said historic medical mistreatment of these communities has eroded trust in the COVID vaccine. Some students even make fun of people for getting the shot.

Marion County officials hope to ramp up vaccinations among 12- to 18-year-olds before the start of the school year to enable relaxed masking and social distancing restrictions. But lower vaccination rates among Black and Latino students pose a large concern.

Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said vaccine hesitancy worries her, especially because COVID vaccination rates for Black and Latino residents trail behind those of white residents — 10 and 16 percentage points lower, respectively, according to county data. The rate for Asian residents is also low.

“We have low rates of vaccination in the African American community,” Caine said. “I’m very concerned about that.”

As of Sunday, just under 8% of 12- to 15-year-olds and 24% of 16- to 19-year-olds in the county were fully vaccinated, according to the county.

The proportion of vaccinated 12- to 18-year-olds will largely determine public health guidance for schools this fall, which Caine plans to release in late July. Caine said potential spread of the more contagious delta COVID variant will also play a role.

Read the full article about COVID vaccine hesitancy among Black and Latino students concerns Indianapolis officials by Carson TerBush at Chalkbeat.