Recently, she sat with rolling out to explain why she has pursued the work she’s so focused on.
What is the role of vaccines in the Black community?
There are several different roles.
One role is to mitigate the virus, slow down the virus, move us in the right direction [and] give hope.
In the Black community, it’s to restore. We had a lot of people lose their lives in the Black community, so the role of the vaccine is to slow that down and give people an opportunity to [survive].
How did you feel about the COVID-19 pandemic before there was a vaccine versus now that there is a vaccine?
Prior to having a vaccine, the census was a feeling of uncertainty. One can say hopelessness because everything was shut down. [I asked] “where do we go from here? What’s going on?” Then, once we had a vaccine, you begin to be hopeful. You realize maybe there is a path forward so … once we had an opportunity to take advantage of the vaccine, there was a sense of hopefulness and a path forward.
What information convinced you to take the vaccine?
There were several forms of information. You have the science. Another thing I would say is just doing my own research. Researching for myself, educating myself, reading a lot, following the CDC, following the science and just making good sense.
What do you think of the divisiveness over vaccinations?
Oh wow, there’s such division even now. We’re still struggling with the division. There’s the political division because it was politicized, it became very political. It even moved over to religion. So you had the political piece, you have the religious piece and there was the wealth gap. There were so many different pieces to understanding more about COVID and how to proceed forward. It was just so divided. The biggest piece, I would say, was the political piece. The vaccine had nothing to do with politics, but somehow we made it about politics.
Weren’t some of the politicians who held the vaccine as a party-defining item were some of the first people to get vaccinated?
Right, they received the vaccine and yet, they were telling other people not to do it, while they were protecting their families because it was a political thing to do. It was blue versus red, and don’t vote for this person because they’re scientists and we believe in Jesus Christ so we’re not going to take the vaccine. It was unfortunate because it cost a lot of lives by making it political and religious. People died because we didn’t keep it simple.