The Westside Gazette

Is There a Problem with Black Folks and the Vaccine?

Roger Caldwell


By Roger Caldwell

As I received my second coronavirus vaccine shot, the second day was interesting, because there was some pain, and my body was reacting to something in my system. I was a little sluggish, and I took a warm bath, and I ate a hearty breakfast. I felt better, but my immune system was still fighting something foreign in my system. Based on everything I read, the second shot was the most difficult, in terms of the reaction to your system. As the day went on I felt better.

As a Black man I am ecstatic about my resolve with the covid-19, because I now believe I have protection against the pandemic.  Initially, I was concerned, skeptical, and I thought about waiting to get my shot. I didn’t trust Ex-President Trump and his administration, and there was a high level of resistance in my mind. But, when I saw doctors, scientists, and the new Vice-President Harris and President Biden getting their shots, I was ready to roll the dice and rollup my sleeve.

The more I thought about the shots, the more I began to understand that it was not just for me, but it was also for my family, my friends, my business partners and others I come in contact with. As an individual, I was protecting myself from everyone I came in contact with on a daily basis.

With this new level of protection, I felt stronger and in the midst of chaos, I was ready to fight Covid-19.  By no way did I think I had defeated the virus, but I was prepared to fight with additional protection. I was still following all of the rules and guidelines with the pandemic. With my new card that I had received and my two shots, I felt patriotic as an American, and as a Black person/man.

The shot is very important, and I made sure I did not miss my appointments.  Now I don’t want Black folks across the country to miss their appointments. White people are two, three, or even four times, as many getting their shots, and are engaged at being vaccinated. It is time for Black Folks to get serious about taking their shots, and protecting themselves, their family, and others.

As I talk to many brothers 65 and older, they are saying they are waiting, to take their shots. A smaller numbers of sisters are saying the same thing, and it is an issue because, they are saying the same thing. There is a medical distrust sprinkled with medical racism, and medical experimentation to Black bodies, and who should Black folks trust?

It is going to be extremely difficult in the Black community to build coalitions of confidence with so much misinformation, and very limited education and knowledge. There are numerous dark clouds starting with the Tuskegee Experiment, and who in the leadership roles really cares when a Black person is killed in the street by so many different ways.

With Black health in alarming disparities, Black folks are waiting, and taking their time, and many may decide not to take the vaccine at all. Many people and many Blacks believe this is a personal choice, and no one should be pressured to take the vaccine.

I disagree with this thinking, because without the shot you put yourself at a greater risk of dying. With major disparities with Black health, Black folks should be at the head or front of the line.

Instead Blacks, men and women are at the end of the line. We can find 15 reasons why Blacks are at the end of the line, but a large part of the blame must be put on us, and we can change our situation with action and work. This is a life or death decision, and Blacks must decide to live.

When it’s time to get your shot, show up. Even if it takes leaders in the community to help older Black folks get to their location to get their shot, support and work together. We have a responsibility to life and living in the Black community, ask for more resources in our community, but let life be a priority.



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