Why Demonizing The Unvaccinated Won’t Work

| lafocus |

Sunita Sohrabji/EMS
      Low-income minorities in the U.S., many of whom remain unvaccinated because of hurdles in access and information, are unfairly being blamed for the new rise in Covid infections, said Dr. Tiffani Johnson, a pediatrician with UC Davis Children’s Health Center, at an Ethnic Media Services news briefing July 30.
      “There are so many barriers that exist to accessing healthcare and those same barriers exist to accessing the vaccine,” said Johnson, one of four speakers at the news conference, which addressed efficacy rates of current vaccines against the Delta variant, the dominant strain in the U.S.
      “We’ve had some politicians explicitly say it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks as this pandemic worsens. But It’s really a lot more nuanced than just pointing the fingers at the unvaccinated as we continue to see spikes in COVID,” she said.
      The Kaiser Family Foundation reported July 21 that more than 68 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the two dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
      But as of July 19, less than half of Black and Hispanic people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in the vast majority of states reporting data.
      The vaccination rate for Black people is less than 50 percent in 38 of 42 reporting states, including 14 states where less than a third of Black people have received one or more doses. Similarly, less than half of Hispanic people have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose in 34 of 40 reporting states, including 10 states where less than a third have received at least one dose, according to the KFF.
      A study released by Israel’s Ministry of Health in July concluded that the two-dose Pfizer vaccine was just 39 percent effective in controlling the spread of the Delta variant, though it was 80 to 90 percent effective in fighting against severe illness and hospitalizations. A study from Scotland released in June noted that the Delta variant doubles the rate of hospitalization in unvaccinated people.
      Johnson acknowledged several barriers preventing low income minority populations from getting the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. A history of redlining — banks refusing loans to certain communities because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk — has led to segregation of minorities living in healthcare deserts, she said.
      Those who lack stable internet connections may have trouble securing a vaccine, said Johnson, adding that transportation is also a huge barrier. “When you have a vaccine clinic that maybe five miles away, if you don’t have a car, five miles is a long way to try to get on foot.”
Hourly wage workers make up a large percentage of vulnerable communities: If they don’t show up to work, they don’t get paid.
      “So even taking one or two hours off of work to be able to get your vaccine, if you can only find one available during those hours when you’re working, that’s one or two hours that you’re not getting paid,” said Johnson. She noted that people have also expressed concern to her about the side effects associated with the vaccines: chills, fevers, body aches, and general weakness, among other symptoms.
      Dealing with mild side effects also may require taking time off work, said Johnson. “So, either they don’t want to get it or they’re trying to wait for a time where they can block two or three days off.”
      Communities of color also have a general mistrust of a healthcare system in which they feel unheard and unseen, said Johnson. “We’ve been cheating on these communities for years and abusing them for years and now we’re like: ‘Hey baby, I’m sorry, I love you,’ and we expect them to trust us. But we need to earn that trust and build that trust. And it’s not going to happen overnight,” stated Johnson.
      The pediatrician said she was not in favor of a vaccination mandate, nor is she in favor of vaccine passports, which are now being required to enter many public places, and job sites.
      “I don’t think that we should create a two-tiered system where certain groups in certain communities don’t have access to benefits and society. I think that we need to work on educating the community and empowering the community.”
      “Given all of the barriers that I outlined to getting those vaccines, until we fully address all of those barriers, I don’t think it’s fair to create a two-tiered system,” stated Johnson.

lafocus

| lafocus |

More Coverage

Hundreds of Compton Residents Chosen for Guaranteed Income Program

Dianne Lugo Compton has joined in participating in a successful program to grant some of its residents a guaranteed i…

Pastor Tyron Robinson Named to Succeed Bishop Paul Morton

Staff Last year, nationally renowned pastor and gospel singer Bishop Paul S. Morton announced he would step down as s…

New Fund Will Grant $10,000 to Struggling Local Business Owners

Staff More relief for local Los Angeles small business owners is on the way. A new fund, the LA Regional COVID Fund, …

Probe Into Prison Deaths Ends Up Uncovering $8 Billion in Untracked State Money

Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media What started out as an investigation into inmate deaths in some of Calif…

Despite Massively Successful Fundraising Efforts, Community Group Fails to Purchase Crenshaw Mall

Dianne Lugo The saga of the historic Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza ownership continues with local Black community orga…

Hollywood Blvd Business Owners Will File Criminal Charges Against Protesters for Property Damage During Breonna Taylor Demonstration

By Stephen Oduntan Shattered glass dotted the pavement. Evidence of vandalism after violent confrontations between Lo…

A Call to Stop Hate: Asian Americans & Allies Held Vigil Demanding an End to Violence & Racism

By Stephen Oduntan A Black Lives Matter – South Pasadena activist came together with the San Gabriel Valley community…

Los Angeles County Announces Emergency COVID-19 Rental Relief Program

Staff The one-year anniversary of Los Angeles’ COVID-19 shutdown has come and gone, and for many, the ensuing financi…

Latest Politics

Elder Charles Blake II Named Co-Pastor of West Angeles COGIC 

Faith Leaders, Elected Officials and Celebrities Respond to Guilty Verdicts in Ahmaud Arbery Case

Voting Rights Is the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams Unite for Million Dollar HBCU Giveaway

Dave Chappelle Hits Back at Controversy and Asks, ‘Am I Canceled or Not?’


© Copyright 2021 - LA Focus Newspaper