I wrote this piece thinking about all the friends and family that I care so much about, who are resistant to getting vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. I know they have been told all the reasons why they need to take the shot. I am going to repeat those reasons again because I need them to hear why I need them to get vaccinated.
First and foremost, I need them to hear that everyone in the community is safer every time another person in the community gets vaccinated.
I need them to hear that an American is dying needlessly every 48-seconds from Covid-19. Since July, cases are up 12%, but deaths are up 23% from Covid-19. The doctors say that the Delta variant is much more contagious and deadly. This variant causes a rise in the amount of virus in a person’s nose and upper airways, which makes it easier for the virus to spread, and one is infected with a higher dose of the virus.
I need them to hear that in Peoria, during the early stage of the pandemic, victims from Covid were mostly white females in their 80’s and 90’s. Today local stats show the average age of a Covid victim is 61, and they most likely are from zip codes 61604 and 61605. In the first 9-months of the pandemic, African American deaths were around 14%; from May-July of 2021, the death rate has tripled to 45% in Peoria. Comorbidities, i.e., hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and heart failure, are the most common issues among Covid patients.
I need them to hear that at the end of August there were 4,942 new Covid cases every day in Illinois. This is the highest daily number reported since January when the daily average was 3,662. Death rates have increased in 42 states, and in 14 states, deaths from Covid increased by 50% in one week. Healthcare workers are being broken under the stress, and in the state of Mississippi alone, at least 2,000 nurses have left the field this year.
I need them to hear if their hesitancy for taking the vaccine is because of its emergency use only status that the FDA has given the Pfizer vaccine full approval for anyone 16-years and older.
I need them to hear that more than 70% of the nation’s insurers are no longer waving out-of-pocket costs when they are hospitalized from the effects of Covid-19 now that there are vaccines available. According to the CDC, hospitalization rates of unvaccinated Covid patients are 29 times that of vaccinated patients.
I need them to hear although no vaccine is 100% effective, the benefit of being vaccinated against the virus reduces the likelihood of them being severely ill by 25 times if they do become infected. And being vaccinated for Covid reduces the risk of getting infected eight times more than if they are not vaccinated.
I need them to hear that a Black woman from North Carolina will go down in history for leading the effort in the development of this vaccine. Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is a research fellow and scientific lead at the National Institute of Health. Dr. Corbett received her doctorate in immunology and microbiology in 2014 from the University of North Carolina and has also earned degrees in biology and sociology. Throughout her time in school and at The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Corbett has had over ten years of experience studying this kind of disease.
Dr. Corbett is quoted as saying, “I want to make it clear that the work that we have been doing for so long I personally stand by it, essentially with all of my being.” She also stated, “I also understand that there are issues of lack of trustworthiness. I say it in that way because I understand the onus of gaining the public’s trust lies in the hands of people like me.”
I need them to hear that they are their children’s, who are unable to get vaccinated, first line of defense. According to Dr. Michele Beekman, a pediatric hospitalist at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois, there is a disturbing increase in RSV, para-flu, and respiratory distress in infants and toddlers. Dr. Beekman stated that masking and good hygiene remain the best protective measures for kids too young to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
There are 50-million children younger than age twelve in the United States, and children hospitalization has reached an all-time pandemic high. At the end of July, there were 72,000 new cases of children infected with Covid; by mid-August, their cases were up to 94,000.
What I really, really need them to hear is that they are loved, they are needed, and no one else can fulfill what only they were purposed to do. I need them to push past their doubts, to push past their fears, to push past their hesitancy and distrust, and take one in the arm for the community.
Friends and Family, I love you!