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Why Black Americans arent being vaccinated for COVID-19 at the same rate as whites – Yahoo News

https://news.yahoo.com/why-black-americans-arent-being-vaccinated-for-covid-19-at-the-same-rate-as-whites-225217711.html

Why Black Americans arent being vaccinated for COVID-19 at the same rate as whites - Yahoo News
Why Black Americans arent being vaccinated for COVID-19 at the same rate as whites - Yahoo NewsWhy Black Americans arent being vaccinated for COVID-19 at the same rate as whites - Yahoo News

Early data on the rollout of the vaccines for COVID-19 shows that minority populations in the United States already disproportionately affected by the pandemic are not being immunized at the same rate as white Americans.

Yahoo News Medical Contributor Dr. Uché Blackstock believes there are multiple factors contributing to this disparity.

“One of the problems that I saw very early on is that if you’re going to have mostly hospitals and pharmacies dispensing the vaccine, we’re going to miss a lot of people,” Blackstock said. According to recent research from GoodRX, minority communities tend to have fewer pharmacies per capita, which puts them at a disadvantage based on where they live.

This photo from Sunday Oct. 25, 2020, in New York, shows Dr. Uché Blackstock, an emergency medicine physician and CEO of Advancing Health Equity— an organization advancing equity and justice in healthcare, has been sounding the alarm bell for years about racial inequality in health care. (Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo)This photo from Sunday Oct. 25, 2020, in New York, shows Dr. Uché Blackstock, an emergency medicine physician and CEO of Advancing Health Equity— an organization advancing equity and justice in healthcare, has been sounding the alarm bell for years about racial inequality in health care. (Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo)
Dr. Uché Blackstock, a Yahoo News medical contributor and CEO of Advancing Health Equity. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

“We need to bring the vaccines to the people,” Blackstock added, suggesting that mobile vaccination units could help increase access in areas where transportation is an issue.

In 16 states that have released preliminary data on who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, white residents were more likely to have received a shot than Blacks, KHN news reported. In Pennsylvania, data through Jan. 14 showed that while 1.3 percent of whites in the state had received a vaccination, just 0.3 percent of Black residents had. In Mississippi, 1.3 percent of African Americans residents have been vaccinated so far, compared with 3.5 percent of white residents.

While there are numerous factors that might account for the early discrepancy in the rate of vaccination, Blackstock thinks the pattern will hold.

“It’s the same thing that people said at the beginning of the pandemic, when there was incomplete data that showed that Black and Latinx people were also being infected and hospitalized and dying at higher rates. But then once we got the complete data it confirmed the initial data, like we already know which communities are vulnerable,” Blackstock said.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via getty images)Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via getty images)
White House press secretary Jen Psaki at a news conference on Monday. (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty images)

African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans die from COVID-19 at nearly three times the rate as white Americans, according to figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These minority groups are also about four times as likely to be hospitalized with the coronavirus as white Americans are.

“If we’re seeing these trends at the beginning, I think now is an opportunity to respond to that data, right?” Blackstock said of the rollout of the vaccine. “To direct our efforts, according to the data. And so we’re seeing these trends this early on, we can actually try to course-correct.”

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki spoke of the challenge of meeting President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 1 million Americans every day for the next 100 days.

“It’s not just about having supply, which is pivotal, of course. It’s also about having more people that can physically put the shots into the arms of Americans and ensuring that we have places that that can be done,” Psaki said.

Healthcare workers administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents living in the Jackson Heights neighborhood at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church on January 10, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)Healthcare workers administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents living in the Jackson Heights neighborhood at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church on January 10, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
A health care worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 10 in Tampa. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Biden has often spoken about the need for an equitable pandemic response. On his first day in office, he signed an executive order stating that “the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated severe and pervasive health and social inequities in America” and directing federal agencies to coordinate a response.

Blackstock said another factor contributing to preliminary low vaccination rates among African Americans is vaccine skepticism, which she attributed to a long-standing pattern of discrimination against minorities by the medical establishment. But she believes there are ways to combat that mistrust.

“I think, with that issue, what needs to happen is we need health care professionals and those communities to be able to have conversations with their patients about the vaccine and to answer those questions,” she said, adding that those one-on-one efforts should be bolstered by a national public health campaign to promote vaccines.

“We need to see [it] on buses and trains and billboards, social media, commercials on TV,” Blackstock said. “We need to see information out there about the vaccine, why it’s important for people to take it, and to see positive imagery around speaking of vaccines. We have not seen that at all.”

Residents wait in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church on January 10, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)Residents wait in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church on January 10, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
People waiting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 10 in Tampa. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Last, Blackstock noted that some minority communities don’t have access to or proficiency with the technology required by some health systems to register for an appointment to be vaccinated.

“If you have the vaccines there, but people from the community are not able to get appointments because of the cumbersome process for signing up for a vaccine … then the people who need the vaccine aren’t going to get it right,” Blackstock added. “And we’re going to reinforce the inequities that we’ve already seen in the pandemic.”

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Health & Fitness

90 percent of COVID deaths occur in countries with high obesity levels: study – New York Post

https://nypost.com/2021/03/05/90-percent-of-covid-deaths-occur-in-countries-with-high-obesity/

90 percent of COVID deaths occur in countries with high obesity levels: study - New York Post

Nearly 90 percent of coronavirus fatalities have occurred in countries with high obesity levels, according to researchers — who now want overweight people to be prioritized for vaccinations.

Death rates were 10 times higher in countries such as the US where at least 50 percent of the total population is overweight, according to a World Health Organization-backed study released Thursday  by the World Obesity Federation.

“[This] must act as a wake-up call to governments globally,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, according to the Financial Times. “The correlation between obesity and mortality rates from COVID-19 is clear and compelling.”

Weight is now believed to be the second-biggest predictor of severe illness from the virus after age, according to the study, which represents medical professionals at 50 regional and national obesity associations.

For the report, researchers examined mortality data from Johns Hopkins University and the WHO Global Health Observatory data that showed a total of 2.2 million of the 2.5 million deaths worldwide were in countries with high levels of obesity.

An elderly woman rides in a wheelchair wearing a face mask outside along a golf course in Broomfield, ColoradoUS where at least 50 percent of the total population is overweight
In the US, at least 50 percent of the total population is overweight.
Getty Images

Researchers didn’t find any examples of high COVID-19 death rates in countries where less than 40 percent of the population was overweight, according to the report.

For example, Vietnam has the lowest coronavirus death rate in the world and the second-lowest level of overweight people, at just 0.04 deaths per 100,000 from COVID-19 with 18.3 percent of adults overweight, according to WHO data.

By contrast, the UK has the third-highest COVID-19 death rate in the world and the fourth-highest obesity rate, with 184 deaths per 100,000 and 63.7 percent of adults overweight. 

The US saw about 152 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 and has a 68 percent obesity rate.

Tim Lobstein, senior policy adviser to the WOF and the report’s author, called the increase in national death rates linked to obesity “dramatic.”

Meanwhile, according to a study released last month, Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine may be less effective in protecting obese people.

Researchers in Rome found that obese people who had received two doses of the vaccine generated a weaker antibody response, according to a report on the pre-print server Medrxiv.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, evaluated the effect of the vaccine on 248 health care workers seven days after the final dose, the Guardian reported.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute Regina Elena found that those considered obese — defined as having a body mass index over 30 — produced about half the amount of antibodies compared with people who had a healthy body weight, the Guardian reported.

It’s not currently known what level of antibodies is necessary to neutralize the virus, but experts fear that a reduced antibody response may hinder inoculation efforts.

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Health & Fitness

He Died by Suicide. His Wife Blames COVID Psychosis – Newser

https://www.newser.com/story/303330/he-died-by-suicide-his-wife-blames-covid-psychosis.html

He Died by Suicide. His Wife Blames COVID Psychosis - Newser

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He Died by Suicide. His Wife Blames COVID Psychosis - Newser

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Researchers are still investigating possible links between the virus and mental illness

Posted Mar 5, 2021 11:58 AM CST


(Newser)

A Illinois family is speaking out after a husband and father of two took his own life, saying he did so as a result of “COVID psychosis.” Ben Price of Morris committed suicide 16 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in February. The 48-year-old farmer and married father of two spent four days in the hospital with breathing issues, then came home a different person, widow Jennifer Price tells WGN. “He would just pace through the house and repeat things. And it wasn’t even in his normal tone of voice,” she says. “He just kept repeating, ‘I’m sorry, I’m just so scared.’ He would stare out the window and just worry about things that weren’t even happening.” He was prescribed medication meant to calm him, but died by suicide soon after. “Our Ben would never have left us,” says Price. But “he was not our Ben.”

Doctors have described rare cases of psychosis after COVID-19. “Indeed, it appears that COVID-19 may have a bidirectional relationship with mental illness, whereby experiencing mental illness increases the risk of developing COVID-19, but also COVID-19 infection increases the risk of subsequent mental illness,” reads a review published last month in Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry. It references one study that found 18% of 62,354 patients had a psychiatric diagnosis—with 5.8% representing a first diagnosis—within 90 days of COVID-19 diagnosis. But “the sorts of neurologic and cognitive issues and even emotional and psychiatric issues as part of a Covid infection” are not fully understood, infectious disease expert Emily Landon tells WGN. Until they are, Price wants families to be on guard. (More on neurological symptoms here.)

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He Died by Suicide. His Wife Blames COVID Psychosis - Newser

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When will life return to normal? COVID experts consider what summer, fall might look like – ABC News

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/life-return-normal-covid-experts-summer-fall/story?id=76277557

When will life return to normal? COVID experts consider what summer, fall might look like - ABC News

It’s the million dollar question everyone is asking about COVID-19: When will life return to normal? And will school be open this fall?

The reality, though, depends much on how you define “normal.” And, if enough Americans step up for a shot this summer, it might not be as depressing as you think.

Experts say fall could become the season of a “new normal” in which the world slowly reopens and people will reconnect but with masks, routine testing and possibly even vaccine cards to allow them enter movie theaters or restaurants.

“It’ll be so gradual, we probably won’t even notice it,” said Howard Markel, a historian of medicine at the University of Michigan and a pediatrician. “It’s not a light switch or like V-Day — like, it’s over, you know, we won! It’s not that way.”

So what could derail it all? Infectious disease experts agree at least 70-85% of the country needs to become immune to starve the virus. Markel said he favors 90% with a virus this stealthy.

“It all depends on how many people roll up their sleeve and get the immunization, you see,” Markel told ABC News. “So that’s my fear, that’s what keeps me up at night.”

Here’s what health experts say could happen this year:

Spring will be a time of uncertainty, and possibly more deaths

The country is at a standstill with the virus. Even with the national seven-day average down some 74% in a matter of weeks, the U.S. is still averaging some 64,000 new cases per day. That average is on par with last fall just before cases exploded in the holiday season.

That stalled progress means the country is about to head into the season of spring break trips, graduation parties, family vacations and neighborhood gatherings with already high viral transmission, all the while a new, more transmissible variant originating from Britain is expected to become the most dominant strain of the virus by mid-March.

Health experts warn with states like Texas and Mississippi reopening now and lifting mask mandates, there could be one last heartbreaking rise in new cases –- followed weeks later by hospitalizations and deaths -– just as the nation is on the cusp of mass vaccinations.

“I know the idea of relaxing mask-wearing and getting back to everyday activities is appealing. But we’re not there yet,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have seen this movie before. When prevention measures like mask mandates are rolled back, cases go up.”

Fingers crossed, summer becomes the season of mass vaccinations

“I think that’s a huge undertaking,” said Simone Wildes, an infectious diseases physician at South Shore Health in Massachusetts and an ABC News medical contributor, of the mass vaccination rollout.

“But if we can get it done June, July … we might be able to have a decent summer. But it really depends on how things unfold in the next few months,” she said.

Markel too predicted that by early July, almost all “early accepters” of the vaccine will have gotten a shot. At that point, much of the nation might be able to expand their “pod” –- slowly.

Markel said he still wouldn’t recommend putting down an early deposit on a nonrefundable beach house with extended family this summer.

Wildes agreed.

“Be flexible that if you know people are not vaccinated, if there is an increase in the number of cases, in particular with the variants, that we can cancel those plans,” Wildes said. “There’s nothing wrong with making tentative plans, but I think we just have to be mindful of where things are at that particular point.”

Depending upon how many Americans become vaccinated, fall could become the ‘new normal’

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that he now thinks by “fall, mid fall, early winter” that everyone might head back to work, kids will be in school and indoor dining might be humming once again.

His prediction follows a White House announcement that one vaccine maker, Johnson & Johnson, would be able to accelerate its supply. But it would still take the summer months to deploy the vaccines.

“By the time we get to fall with the implementation of the vaccine program, you’re going to see something noticeably in the direction of going back to normality and very likely will get there by the end of the year,” said Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser.

Dr. William Schaffner, professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said he prefers to put “normal” in quotes now because life would likely look very different. Online business meetings, for example, might become more commonplace than packed conference rooms” if possible.

“Masks ought to be one of the last things that goes,” Schaffner said. “They’re a bother, they’re dorky, but they’re so effective and so easy and so cheap. They wouldn’t be the first things I take off; they would be the last.”

But if enough people are vaccinated, he agreed that schools and colleges should be able to open with low risk this fall and the U.S. could see a brighter Thanksgiving.

“My anticipation is that we will be into this ‘new normal’ by the end of summer and into the fall, and we can all — I hope — give thanks at Thanksgiving, in a more conventional fashion, sitting around the table with our family, friends, relatives, with masks off and give thanks and be joyful that we have come through this awful pandemic and survived,” Schaffner said.

Still, every expert interviewed by ABC News described a kind of cautionary “wait-and-see” approach. Vaccine hesitancy among some Americans remains a concern. And if viral transmission in other countries remains high, the virus could mutate in ways that chip away at the efficacy of the vaccines – potentially putting even vaccinated individuals at risk.

“We might get back to some of the things we’re accustomed to but to say we’re going to get back to normal — it’s not going to be the same,” Wildes said.

“I think it’s even going to be hard for me to hug people,” she later added.

When it’s all over, however many months or years from now, Markel, who has spent 30 years studying pandemics, is sure of one thing: “We’ll forget all about it.”

“We’ll go on our merry way,” he said. “I’m telling you, I’ve studied a lot of pandemics. That’s the end. It’s like amnesia. And that’s what I worry about.”

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Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray could stem spread, researchers say – Business Insider

https://www.businessinsider.com/intranasal-covid-19-vaccine-spray-could-stem-spread-2021-3

Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray could stem spread, researchers say - Business Insider

It’s an intuitive idea: Wouldn’t it be best to administer a COVID-19 vaccine in the place it first invades the body?

That’s what Maryland-based biotech startup, Altimmune, is trying to develop — a COVID-19 vaccine that gets squirted into your nose, not jabbed in your arm.

Delivering vaccines to the sight of first exposure is an advantage,” Dr. Buddy Creech, who directs the Vanderbilt University vaccine research program and has worked with Altimmune, told Insider. “Typically, you don’t get COVID-19 in the deltoid muscle of your arm, you get it in your nose, eyes, and throat. So it makes sense we’d want to at least consider a vaccine that can generate some immunity in mucosal orifices.”

The three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the US, of course, are all shots. Although they appear to curb transmission, it’s unlikely they stop it all together. An intranasal vaccine, however, could create an extra line of defense, since it would prompt the immune system to produce antibodies that block infection locally in the mucous membranes of your nose and throat. That would prevent transmission by stopping viral shedding from those orifices.

Altimmune launched an 180-person trial of its intranasal vaccine, called AdCOVID, last month to test how safe the vaccine is, what side effects it prompts, and what levels of antibodies and T-cells it produces. Participants range in age from 18 to 55. The company expects to have data in the second quarter of this year. 

intranasal COVID 19 vaccine candidate AdCOVID

Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray could stem spread, researchers say - Business Insider

Altimmune’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AdCOVID, is designed to be given as a spray into the nostrils.

Courtesy of Altimmune


Scot Roberts, chief scientific officer at Altimmune, told Insider that the best-case scenario would be a rollout to adults at the end of this year or in early 2022.

Other intranasal vaccine candidates are also being tested in ChinaIndia, and the UK.

A nasal spray could prevent viral shedding from noses and throats

Altimmune

Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray could stem spread, researchers say - Business Insider

An Altimmune employee examines a vial of intranasal COVID-19 vaccine.

Courtesy of Altimmune


AdCOVID wouldn’t be the first vaccine that doesn’t require a needle. The polio vaccine was first swallowed as pill, and the CDC has approved multiple nasal-spray flu vaccines.

Vaccines injected into the arm muscle, however, are most common. These prompt your immune system to start producing T-cells that remember the pathogen should it ever return, and antibodies that fight off the virus across your body — what’s known as systemic immunity.

But those antibodies don’t always flood into the mucous-covered surfaces of the nose and throat (where a respiratory virus likes to hang out) in large enough numbers to stop the virus from replicating in those locations.

A nasal spray, however, can prompt your immune system to create antibodies known as immunoglobulin A locally in your mucosal orifices, according to Dr. Paul Goepfert, director of the Alabama vaccine research clinic.

“It’s possible that this would be much more efficient vaccine to reduce coronavirus spread,” Goepfert told Insider.

Indeed, Altimmune found in a recent animal study that its intranasal COVID-19 vaccine prompted both systemic immunity and mucosal immunity. Two other animal studies found that an intranasal spray prevented infections while almost completely blocking coronavirus transmission.

Nasal sprays could serve as boosters to target coronavirus variants 

vaccine shot

Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray could stem spread, researchers say - Business Insider

A frontline healthcare worker receives a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at the Park County Health Department clinic on January 5, 2021 in Livingston, Montana.

Photo by William Campbell/Getty Images


A proliferation of coronavirus variants have raised concerns that existing vaccines will need to be reinforced via booster shots. Pfizer and Moderna are each testing new versions of their shots to combat such variants, but distributing them could be another enormous undertaking.

A key advantage of Altimmune’s spray is that it doesn’t require refrigeration and can be kept at room temperature for months.

“If we do need revaccinations or to top up immunity in the presence of a variant, this approach makes perfect sense,” Roberts said. 

According to Daniel Oran and Eric Topol, two COVID-19 researchers at the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California, intranasal vaccines could help in that process, since people might be able to self-administer them.

“Simply mailing someone a nasal spray is far more convenient than arranging for an in-person injection,” they wrote in Scientific American on Monday. The duo also pointed out that swapping a needle for a spray could encourage more people to get vaccinated in the first place.

Altimmune hopes to test its spray in children this year

intranasal vaccine h1n1 flu

Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray could stem spread, researchers say - Business Insider

Chris Diaz receives a nasal-spray vaccine for the H1N1 flu at the Broadmoor Elementary school in Miami, Florida, on October 19, 2009.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images


Altimmune plans to test its intranasal vaccine in children and is talking to the Food and Drug Administration about how to formulate those pediatric trials. The company hopes to launch a trial among children while the drug is still being tested in adults.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the US can be administered to children younger than 16, since the companies didn’t include kids in their early trials.

“Kids don’t get so sick, but they sure can spread the virus. So, this idea of mucosal immunity that blocks transmission is really a perfect fit for the pediatric population,” Roberts said. “Clearly the FDA recognizes the need. We can’t leave 70 million Americans on the side, unvaccinated.”

Goepfert said developing a nasal-spray vaccine for children would be a win-win: It would stymie their capacity for transmission and make it easier to vaccinate them.

“Not having to stick somebody is particularly appealing for pediatricians,” he said.

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These men and women got the Covid-19 vaccine despite some hesitancy in their communities – CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/05/us/covid-vaccine-people-of-color-testimonials/index.html

These men and women got the Covid-19 vaccine despite some hesitancy in their communities - CNN
America’s history of racism in medical research and a lack of trust in the federal government has made many Black and Latino Americans hesitant to take a vaccine since one was first approved in December. And in the last few months, people of color have been vaccinated at far lower rates than White Americans in part due to this mistrust and a lack of access, experts have said.
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However, the study notes that Black and Latino adults are still more likely than White adults to say they will “wait and see” before getting vaccinated. While confidence in vaccines has improved, people are concerned about potential side effects, including getting Covid-19 from a vaccine as well as missing work, the study notes.

CNN spoke with several people of color who have taken the vaccine. They discussed why they did not hesitate to get inoculated and the impact it had in their lives in only a few weeks.

‘Why not protect our culture?’

Alejandra Tristan, a college student in North Texas, was able to receive Covid-19 vaccine due to her multiple health conditions.Alejandra Tristan, a college student in North Texas, was able to receive Covid-19 vaccine due to her multiple health conditions.

For Alejandra Tristan, the vaccine is like “extra security” against the virus for her constant medical treatments and doctor’s appointments.

The 23-year-old student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Central Texas suffers from multiple chronic conditions, including a connective tissue disorder and liver disease. Tristan is part of a clinical trial related to liver disease and contracting Covid-19 would deter her progress substantially.

“We (she and her family) wanted to make sure I was protected so I didn’t have to worry about something else on top of my already pre-existing medical conditions,” Tristan said.

Last August, she had a medical emergency but decided to stay home and seek a doctor remotely instead of going to the emergency room out of fear of being exposed to the virus.

“Now that I know that I at least have the vaccine and both of my parents had the vaccine, if something again were to happen, I (would) feel a little safer going and getting emergency treatment done,” she said.

Tristan said she also wanted to get vaccinated to help those close to her and others in the Latino community.

“We are Latinos. We come from big families and big communities, and we help each other out whenever we can,” Tristan said.

“The fact that some of us don’t want to get vaccinated, it feels to me like it goes against our culture. We’re raised helping one another, whether you’re family, whether you’re friends, whether you’re distant relatives. So why not take the chance to help not only yourself but your community?” she added.

He lost too many people to Covid-19

Glenn and Tandra Singfield wanted to get vaccinated for Covid-19 after they lost friends and neighbors to the virus when their city of Albany, Georgia, became a hot spot last year. Glenn and Tandra Singfield wanted to get vaccinated for Covid-19 after they lost friends and neighbors to the virus when their city of Albany, Georgia, became a hot spot last year.
Nearly a year after Albany, Georgia, was overrun by coronavirus cases, Glenn Singfield Sr. jumped at the chance to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

Singfield, a 68-year-old restaurant owner, said he had lost too many friends, neighbors and church members from the virus and felt a “moral obligation” to get vaccinated.

“The reason I got the vaccine is I want to protect my wife,” Singfield said. “We’ve been together 44 years. I don’t want to take it home to her. I also don’t want to give it anybody in my community. And I don’t want anybody in my community giving it to me.”

Singfield and his wife signed up online and received their first vaccine dose in late January and the second in February. He said he didn’t experience any side effects.

Many Black people have shared their doubts about the vaccine with him, often citing the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment — an unethical 1932 study by the US Public Health Service and the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama that examined the progression of syphilis in Black men.

But Singfield said he believes the shot has been adequately tested and will not harm Black people.

“We weren’t the guinea pigs this time,” Singfield said. “They actually had people who went on the trials for the vaccine already.”

Singfield said he prays he can be an example for all Black Americans and his neighbors in Albany.

Vaccine could help Latinos survive Covid-19, farmer says

Jose Ibarra, Sr., far right, and several of his family members after being vaccinated on January 12 at site at the Wonderland of the Americas Mall. Others in the photo from left to right are Octaviano Eureste, Josie Ibarra, Margarita Castillo and Felicitas Ibarra.Jose Ibarra, Sr., far right, and several of his family members after being vaccinated on January 12 at site at the Wonderland of the Americas Mall. Others in the photo from left to right are Octaviano Eureste, Josie Ibarra, Margarita Castillo and Felicitas Ibarra.

For months, Jose Ibarra and his grandchildren had only seen his 90-year-old mother from the other side of her home’s fence. He was scared they could get her sick.

“We greeted from across the fence, but I couldn’t go over,” said Ibarra, a 64-year-old who lives in a small cattle farm southwest of San Antonio, Texas.

Weeks after his son was able to secure vaccine appointments for him, his mother and a few members of their family, Ibarra walked across that fence for the first time in nearly a year.

“We said good morning to my mom and gave her a hug,” Ibarra said. “That felt really good.”

Since the pandemic began, Ibarra said he felt vulnerable, even “naked.” After he was used to helping at his local church and volunteered often with local groups, he didn’t dare to talk to anybody outside his home to avoid contracting the virus.

He says he took all those measures because he heard how many Latinos, especially the elderly, have died.

“The vaccine gives us confidence to know that we’re going to survive it,” Ibarra said.

He was wary of the vaccine, but a call changed everything

Kalamazoo Public Safety Assistant Chief Victor Green, 54, speaks to a group of 7th graders virtually about policing.Kalamazoo Public Safety Assistant Chief Victor Green, 54, speaks to a group of 7th graders virtually about policing.

Victor Green, assistant chief for Kalamazoo Public Safety in Michigan, wanted to see more research before someone injected him with the vaccine. Then, a call for help made him change his mind.

Last year, two officers were called to assist a woman who had Covid-19 and was found unresponsive. Green, 54, was monitoring the call over the police radio.

“I heard over the radio and they did everything they could to bring life-saving measures to bring that person back,” Green said. “The person ended up passing away…and at that moment I said I will take the vaccine.”

Green said he was scared of what the vaccine would do to him, and he linked it to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. But he also couldn’t forget the toll the virus has taken.

A ventilator couldn’t save a friend who was in his 40s from dying and another friend who contracted the virus and didn’t survive, he said.

“It was to the point me and my wife were so afraid to even look on social media for fear who was going to be next,” he said. “We have some really close friends who didn’t have any type of symptoms or anything and they died.”

After a recent Zoom call with his wife and their closest friends, Green said he found himself convincing others to get the vaccine. He has been vaccinated and told them he had no side effects.

“My close friends are saying, ‘Yeah, I think we’re going to do the vaccine,'” he said.

She badly wants the pandemic to end

Kate Sagara, 23, was vaccinated for Covid-19 in San Diego, California because she is a childcare worker.Kate Sagara, 23, was vaccinated for Covid-19 in San Diego, California because she is a childcare worker.

Kate Sagara was just months away from graduating college when the pandemic began. While she finished school, Covid-19 put some aspects of her life at a standstill and forced many Asian Americans like her to live in fear.

Asian Americans have not only been scared of becoming ill with Covid-19, Sagara says, they are losing their homes, jobs, and they are becoming victims of widespread racism and bigotry.

“At least me and my family want it to end just as badly as everyone else,” Sagara said.

Sagara, now a childcare worker in San Diego, California, was eligible and recently got vaccinated.

For her, receiving the Covid-19 vaccine is the best way she can help end the pandemic and hopefully reunite with family members she hasn’t been able to see in over a year.

“I just want to do whatever I can to speed up the process for me to be able to see my family and go back to everyday life,” Sagara said.

They wanted to preserve the Cherokee language

Sandra Turner and John Ross are among the thousands of people who can speak the Cherokee language fluently. When the Cherokee Nation began receiving shipments of the Covid-19 vaccine, they were among the first to be vaccinated.

Turner, 64, grew up speaking Cherokee at home in a family of 11 children. Until about first or second grade, she didn’t even know English. And even then, she and the many other Cherokee students at her school would speak to each other in the language they knew best.

People like her are rare and she’s seen firsthand how Covid-19 is threatening her mother tongue. In January, Turner attended the funeral of her children’s father, who died of the virus and spoke the language fluently like herself.

Only about 2,000 people speak the Cherokee language fluently. The tribe is saving some vaccine doses for themOnly about 2,000 people speak the Cherokee language fluently. The tribe is saving some vaccine doses for them

Turner, who lives in Salina, Oklahoma, was grateful to receive an email informing her that she could receive the vaccine.

“We have been losing a lot of our fluent speakers due to the virus,” she said. “And I was ready. I said, ‘I’m getting in line.'”

Ross, who is a translator for the Cherokee Nation, felt a responsibility to get the shot as soon as it was available to him.

“As a Cherokee speaker, there’s probably less than 2,000 speakers left like me that’s alive on the face of this earth,” he said. “They want to keep us as long as we can because we try to help out to preserve our language to the young ones or whoever wants to learn.”

The 65-year-old who lives in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, has actively worked to preserve the language he grew up with, including getting Cherokee on Microsoft Office programs and making vaccine information from Pfizer and Moderna available in Cherokee.

CNN’s Nicquel Terry Ellis, Adrienne Broaddus and Harmeet Kaur contributed to this report.

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