Though nowhere near as dire as in previous years, health officials say COVID-19 cases are increasing daily. And it’s hitting the Black community hard, primarily because many African Americans are still refusing or delaying getting vaccinated because of a history of mistrust and distrust of medical systems and misinformation.
Enter the NAACP and the Emancipation Park Conservancy Cultural Center. The two have teamed up with the Immunization Partnership and the Houston Health Department to debunk myths that may prevent someone from getting immunized.
Health professionals say that no vaccine is 100% effective, but if you do get vaccinated and end up catching what you were trying to prevent, your bout will be less severe. They also say contrary to what you may have heard- vaccines are generally safe. A single shot could be lifesaving.
“We have vaccines that can prevent illnesses, we have vaccines that can prevent cancer and these vaccines are safe and efficacious even though you may be getting information from elsewhere that says now,” said Dr Joseph Gathe Jr. with the Houston chapter of the NAACP.
Gathe Jr. and Keith Brown recently took part in a forum on “Getting the Facts” vaccine forum.
“We had a high vaccination rate back in the days in our community, those vaccination rates are dropping, and we’re concerned we’re going to see not just COVID, Measles, diseases that should not be here at all are going to be coming back.
Vaccine advocates say some of those conditions can be prevented altogether.
“Children born from 94–2010, if they would get vaccinated it would save over 472 million diseases,” Brown said.
Brown adds that 29 million people would not be hospitalized, and over a million lives would be saved. He adds a huge socio-economic impact to the tune of $2.2 trillion dollars in savings.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t get paid for time off, so you think about if you get a kid that’s sick, so the parent has to take off, they’re not getting paid, they have to go to the doctor, they pay a deductible,” Brown said.
You can get vaccinated at a doctor’s office and many pharmacies. The City of Houston provides free vaccines, even for people without insurance. Visit https://houstonhealth.org/services/clinical/immunizations for more information.