What is your message to people who are not boosted and are unvaccinated?
For people who are unvaccinated and haven’t had any shots whatsoever, the risk level is high. We know that Omicron in particular is pretty unforgiving when it comes to its ability to get into communities and to really get a lot of people sick. The thing about it is if you’re unvaccinated, you’re more likely to have an asymptomatic illness that can land you in the hospital or worse. If you’ve been vaccinated, but are not yet boosted, the message is you got vaccinated so you can have protection against this pandemic. You want to make sure that you maintain your highest level of protection. The good thing about getting the boosters is it has a lot of positive effects in protecting you from hospitalization or severe illness really shortly after you take the shot.
What do you say to people in the Black community who are hesitant to get vaccinated or boosted?
They say in our community that people aren’t vaccinated, but don’t let people tell you that lie. In our community, if you look around a roomful of Black people, 4 out of 5 of them have been vaccinated. Some people would have you think that that number is closer to 2 out of 5 or 3 out of 5. So it’s a big deal. We’ve done the work as a community to stay protected through this pandemic, and it’s paying dividends. You’re seeing fewer Black people go into the hospital and die from this pandemic, despite the size of this Omicron surge. And it’s because they’ve been vaccinated, they’ve got that protection. If you do your research on this, the approval for the authorization for these vaccines, specifically, was to prevent hospitalization, severe illness and death. That’s exactly what these vaccines do.
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