By Donnell Suggs
We remain in the midst of a public health crisis. The concerts, restaurants, reunions and birthday parties are back. So are updated vaccines that specifically target the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. Should Black Americans trust this booster?
“The vaccines work,” proclaimed White House Covid Response Team senior advisor Dr. B. Cameron Webb during a recent interview with The Atlanta Voice. “Nobody looks forward to getting a shot. It’s about folk being committed to taking care of themselves.”
An updated Covid-19 vaccine shot is now available to the public and experts say it is more of a preventative shot than anything else. Webb contracted Covid-19 this year and believes being vaccinated and having a natural level of immunity helped him and others recover. The new vaccine booster could only help more he says. “More protection equals less spread,” Webb said.
The most recent batch of boosters helped reduce the likelihood of spreading the Coronavirus Omicron variant by 25%, according to Webb. “We know that these vaccines have been effective, not just in preventing hospitalization and death, but also in reducing the amount of Covid being spread from person to person,” Webb said.
Different from 2020
Earlier this month individual states were allowed to pre-order the new vaccine in anticipation of orders from hospitals, pharmacies and clinics. The opportunities and options people have to get a booster shot are plentiful these days, light-years from when the pandemic began two years ago.
“With everything we know it just makes good sense to take advantage of the latest science and technology that we have to end the fight against Covid by using date boosters as opposed to the tools that we have a year ago or two years ago,” Webb said.
Webb says that was part of the Biden Administration’s plan to make getting a booster as easy as possible.
“This is definitely a different situation from two years ago, we’ve worked hard to make that case and make sure we’ve got these vaccines in tens of thousands of locations across the country,” Webb said.
The first official day of the fall equinox is Thursday, Sept. 22. And with the autumn leaves and cooler temperatures comes the cold and flu season. Webb suggests those that are planning to take the shot not hesitate. “This is the time for people to plan,” he said. “The time is now, go ahead and get protected. Use all the tools yet you have to avoid getting sick with Covid because that is going to minimize the risk of the destruction to your life as well.”
The colder temperatures and larger crowds brought on by holiday travel, Thanksgiving gatherings among families and Christmas shopping will unfortunately bring on an increase in infections. During the fall and winter season people spend more time indoors and thus will spend more time without masks on.
Webb suggests that the lack of missing work due to sickness could also be a motivating factor for this hesitant to take the new batch of boosters. “I remind folks that I don’t have five days to be sitting around my house, to be separated from my ability to earn and provide for my family,” he said. “Those are some of the reasons why we encourage folks to protect themselves and use all the tools they have to avoid getting sick from Covid.”
Wage earners and hourly workers, some of whom might be uninsured or under-insured are most likely to have their worlds turned upside down by an illness.
Webb added that mask wearing is another way to remain healthy.
Webb also recommended that people talk to their health care providers about taking the booster, whether it’s the first time or the second time around.