Eighteen months later and we are still in the thick of a global pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 664,000 Americans. However, the most controversy centers around the COVID vaccine, even in the midst of rising cases as the virus continues to mutate. We asked members of the AFRO team and our readers to weigh in and explain their decision of either taking the shot or not.
Humans are social creatures. Getting vaccinated is my responsibility as a human being.
- Mecca Lewis, AFRO archives assistant
I am not currently vaccinated because of religious beliefs.
- Mishana Matthews, AFRO graphic designer
Initially I did not believe in the vaccine because it came too fast, but later I changed my mind for the wellness of my young family members and Grandmother.
- A.W., AFRO reader
I know several people who have lost family members and friends because of COVID-19. My parents also caught the virus back in November, and I wasn’t able to spend Thanksgiving with them. These circumstances motivated me to get the vaccine because I want to protect myself and others.
- Megan Sayles, AFRO business writer
To be or not to be, are the options before us. First, I searched for facts from the past. “The bubonic plague in autumn of 1348 killed thousands, the Black Death. The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918–20 infected and left at least 50 million people dead. And now 100 years later, history repeated itself in another deadly way with the coronavirus pandemic, taking lives without cause and justification. These are pandemics of horror, pain and death, each having similar preventive methods, to quarantine and vaccinate. Individuals during those times faced the same questions we ask today, to be or not to be vaccinated? It’s all chance and choice. I took the chance based on facts. I chose to be vaccinated to lessen the likelihood of death from COVID-19 and to increase the opportunity to be with family. I did it for the love of my family!
- Juernene Bass, AFRO billing specialist
No. I’m not taking that vaccine. I’ve never taken a flu shot. I’m a pretty healthy person, not easily taken with sickness. That was my immediate response. My husband agreed. But as I read and learned about herd immunity, we decided to take one for the team. We have children and grandchildren and great grands. My heart would break if I infected someone because of my choice. We are vaxxed to the max, so far.
- Rev. Dorothy Boulware, AFRO managing editor
I’ve been getting annual flu shots since the early 2000s, so getting the COVID-19 vaccines, two Pfizer shots, were no-brainers. I trust science. In early elementary school, the early 1960s, I received the polio vaccine. Over the weekend, I accepted my annual flu shot. This time the pharmacist said it was the extra-strength dose because now I’m a senior citizen.
Sure, I said, give it to me. Can you put sprinkles on it? [kidding].
- Wayne Dawkins, AFRO columnist
I got vaccinated to protect myself and the people around me. I trust the scientists, particularly because so many of them agreed on the efficacy of the vaccine and felt that the potential rewards of being vaccinated outweighed the risks, especially given the extraordinary circumstances of this pandemic. I was terrified of getting COVID and am extremely grateful for the peace of mind getting the vaccine has given me.
- Nadine Matthews, AFRO freelance writer
I got vaccinated because I don’t want to die of COVID, and I don’t want to kill some stranger because I gave them a deadly disease. I wish there was a more flowery or more high-minded way of explaining it, and I wish I didn’t think my second shot would be the end of the crisis for me and others. But all-in-all, it was a simple calculation for me. These are the stakes. It was neither easy nor convenient to get vaccinated, and it needs to be easier and more convenient to get vaccinated because these are the stakes.
- J.K. Schmid, AFRO freelance writer
Social media says the government is tricking people into medical experiments. I believe social media news. The government is applying blocks on social media to disallow sharing factual news. I have heard more people are dying from getting the vaccination. I don’t need to be vaccinated. I take care of myself health-wise. If I get it, I will treat it like I do a cold or flu, rest, take medication, pray and get better.
- R. B., AFRO reader
Initially, I had vaccine hesitancy. There were too many conspiracy theories running through my mind for me to concede. The Tuskegee Project and Henrietta Lacks concerned me. However, after speaking with medical professionals and reliable friends about the vaccine, and praying for an end to the Coronavirus, I realized an answer had been provided. So, I changed my mind, scheduled an appointment and got it done.
- Marnita Coleman, AFRO freelance writer
I chose to take the vaccine because scientists and doctors who have sacrificed the better part of their lives educating themselves on how to gather data and then decipher that data, have endorsed it. Plus, only a few sources in the world actually have samples to test, such as the FDA and the CDC, not to mention Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, and they have all recommended the vaccine. Moreover, “research” is not “Googling” something and then following the predetermined trail of lies destined to sucker gullible people into believing falsehoods. Real research involves using a critical eye, developed only after years of schooling, to test and verify results. Last but not least, I would wager that most of the sources on the internet that are trying to fool the Black community into not getting the vaccine are the same con artists who tell us that our vote is not important, or that we can’t improve our lives through paying attention to politics, or other such fallacies. In fact, I believe all the “trusted sources” who are telling people not to get vaccinated, have really been vaccinated themselves. It’s all part of the plan to keep those who are already disadvantaged, forever mentally enslaved.
- Daryl Moore, AFRO freelance writer
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