Guest View: People of Color should fear disease more than vaccines | Editorial

Guest View: People of Color should fear disease more than vaccines | Editorial


African American resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine is just the latest in a long line of vaccination avoidance. 

While there are certainly good reasons for African Americans to be weary of medical research given the atrocities of the past, the truth is that in today’s world the far greater risk to people of color is the choice to not take vaccines. 

Vaccines have made the world safer and healthier. We have been able to wipe deadly diseases such as polio and smallpox thanks to vaccines. In a 2017 annual letter to donors, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reported that since 1990, more than 122 million children’s lives have been saved due primarily to the distribution and widespread use of vaccines. 

There is no question that vaccines continue to save countless lives. As an African American physician, I think it is important to speak out and tell the truth about vaccines and encourage everyone, regardless of race, to get vaccinated. 

More than 500,000 people have died from COVID-19 in our country. Vaccines are helping us turn the tide and stop this dangerous disease from taking more lives. 

It really comes down to simple math. We have vaccines that are more than 90 percent effective in stopping the disease. For populations that have a higher chance of getting the disease and a higher chance of a deadly outcome from the disease – a vaccine should be a no-brainer. I have already received my vaccine. I urge all people of color to do the same.

Dr. R. Lawrence Hatchett, is a urology specialist in Marion. He is affiliated with Heartland Regional Medical Center and several hospitals throughout Southern Illinois.


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