5 important COVID-19 vaccine updates for Black communities
Vaccinations are on the rise in California, but some people may still be nervous about the vaccines themselves. Worries about inequities in care and treatment or concerns about the diversity of the COVID-19 clinical trials may be factors. These concerns are understandable and are addressed below.
1. The vaccines are tested for everyone’s safety
The National Medical Association (NMA) agrees that the vaccine is safe. This group looks out for physicians and patients of African descent. NMA found that there were enough Black participants included, at 10% of participants, in both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trials.
Doctors, community health centers, or family and friends who have received the vaccine are all good resources for questions.
2. Certain jobs and health conditions can increase COVID-19 risk
Diabetes, along with obesity and heart disease, add to the seriousness of COVID-19. Black Americans have diabetes 30% more often than White Americans. Also, Black communities employ many essential workers, which means more direct contact with the public through their job. This creates a higher risk of getting and spreading the virus.
While some people have concerns about vaccine side effects, COVID-19 can cause long-term and fatal results. The risk of side effects from the vaccine is lower than the dangers of the virus itself.
3. Fully vaccinated people can visit each other more safely
The CDC says that fully vaccinated people can visit other fully vaccinated people without masks or social distancing. This is as long as they are not – or don’t live with – someone at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. This can help bring family and friends together again.
4. Getting the vaccine helps everyone
The sooner everyone gets the vaccine, the sooner everyone can see friends and family safely. With each day that passes without getting vaccinated, there is more risk of the COVID-19 virus mutating in a way that could be more deadly or that the current vaccine would not protect against. Encourage your family and friends to get vaccinated so we can all reach herd immunity sooner.
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is an immunologist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. “A vaccine can reduce transmission and make it safer to return to normal life," Dr. Corbett told University of Texas Southwestern's Center Times. "I call it vaccine community service.”
5. Getting vaccinated is now easier
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and available to anyone 12 and older. This is true even for non-US citizens or people without insurance. For those facing hurdles to getting vaccinated, California is working to make it easier. The state is helping with rides, mobile clinics and more.
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