Let me begin this week’s column by sharing details in this article written by Dr. Sherita Hill Golden, chief diversity officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine, who specializes in diabetes, heart conditions and patterns of disease in diverse communities. Dr. Golden was my guest in February 2015 for Black History Month on “The Lyndia Grant Show,” when we talked about how Type 2 diabetes got started back during the days of slavery in America. Dr. Golden stated that a group of doctors discussed this very topic during grand rounds at Johns Hopkins about how African Americans didn’t get Type 2 diabetes back in the late 1800s, since the slaves worked all day and burned off the calories. Type 2 diabetes was a White man’s disease back then, she said.
Dr. Golden wrote a recent article aimed at helping those folks with “COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy.” It was published in the online edition of Johns Hopkins Medicines newsletter, Updated Edition, on Sept. 21, 2021. Her article details facts directed at those undecided, especially those with specific illnesses, to help make the decision on whether to get vaccinated.
She prefaces her article with this statement: “Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first COVID-19 vaccines, more than one hundred & eighty million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated. Johns Hopkins Medicine views all authorized COVID-19 vaccines as highly effective at preventing serious disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.”
Last week, I listed the first five of 12 facts and insights shared by Dr. Golden:
- The COVID-19 vaccine was created quickly, but was carefully tested for safety.
- COVID vaccine side effects are temporary and do not mean you’re sick.
- Getting the COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from getting sick.
- Diversity in COVID-19 vaccine testing helped assess safety and effectiveness.
- Do you have allergies? You can probably still get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Now for the rest of the 12 points:
- People of color are especially vulnerable to severe COVID-19.
Generations of health inequities have caused Black and Hispanic/Latin Americans and other communities of color to be overrepresented in severe COVID-19 cases and deaths. People of color are vulnerable to COVID-19 risk factors, and are more likely to be working front-line, essential jobs that cannot be performed from home, increasing their chances of being infected. Getting vaccinated can provide protection for you and those you love.
- If you’ve already had COVID-19, getting the vaccine will add extra protection.
A study published in August 2021 indicates that if you had COVID-19 before and are not vaccinated, your risk of getting reinfected is more than two times higher than for those who were infected and got vaccinated.
While evidence suggests there is some level of immunity for those who previously had COVID, it is not known how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again. Getting vaccinated provides greater protection to others since the vaccine helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 helps others in your community.
Older people and those living with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are more likely to experience severe — even fatal — cases of COVID-19 if they catch it. The more people who receive the coronavirus vaccines, the sooner vulnerable people can feel safe among others. Also, since every COVID-19 infection gives the coronavirus a chance to mutate, being vaccinated helps prevent variants.
- More vaccinations for COVID-19 mean a chance to get back to normal.
After over a year of coronavirus pandemic closures, cancellations and postponements, everyone is eager to think about returning to work, school, sports, family celebrations and social activities. Though no one is sure when the pandemic will be over, every person who gets protection from the coronavirus by getting a vaccination helps us move closer to normal life.
- Here’s what we know about pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility concerns with the COVID-19 vaccines.
Johns Hopkins Medicine agrees with and strongly supports the recommendations of the CDC and other organizations who recommend that all pregnant or lactating individuals, along with those trying to get pregnant, be vaccinated against COVID-19. Find out more about the vaccine and pregnancy.
- COVID-19 Vaccines: Time is of the essence.
People hesitate to get vaccinated for COVID-19 for many reasons, from personal views and fears to logistical problems getting to vaccine sites. But waiting too long to be vaccinated allows the coronavirus to continue spreading in the community, with new variants emerging.
- How can you decide if you should get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Do your research: Your questions are important, and getting the right answers from reliable sources can add to your peace of mind.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.