This week the Los Angeles Urban League has partnered with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to bring COVID-19 vaccines to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. With the help of community organizations such as Mothers in Action and Celebrate Life Cancer Ministries, we are reaching out to our South L.A. communities to raise awareness of this new location for COVID-19 vaccines. In addition to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw site, we soon should be able to share more information on the Kedren Community Health Clinic’s new South LA COVID vaccination site on Avalon Blvd. The response has been great so far, but more needs to be done.
A recent Pew Research study indicates that African Americans are less likely than other groups to take a COVID-18 vaccine. Nevertheless, a majority (61%) of African Americans say they will get vaccinated compared to 69% of Whites, 70% of Hispanics, and 91% of Asians. While we are encouraged that most of our community is willing to be vaccinated, we need everyone to get vaccinated.
Given our history with the American healthcare system, this mistrust is understandable. In this instance, however, our doubt is misplaced. The COVID-19 vaccines currently available are safe and effective according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health authorities worldwide.
Some voices in our community have expressed concerns regarding the effectiveness of the available vaccines and suggest that we wait for a vaccine that is 100% effective. That would be like not recruiting LeBron James because his career field goal and free throw percentages are only 50.9% and 73.4% while waiting for someone whose percentages are perfect. We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
This global pandemic affects everyone. We must do our part to protect ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our teachers, and all of the people we do not know who are performing those essential tasks that put them at the front lines of exposure. If we do this for our community, we will prevent the spread of the virus and the devastating impact on our communities. The only way we can do this is to take advantage of the first opportunity to get vaccinated.
The new presidential administration is leading efforts to increase vaccine doses nationwide, and California State administrators are working hard to put as many shots in arms as possible. Los Angeles Urban League is working with state, county, and local officials to facilitate that goal and help pave the road to healing our communities, strengthening our economy, and restoring our businesses. We look forward to building on these relationships and improving the overall access to healthcare services in Los Angeles’ Black and Brown communities.