Black Men Rise Above COVID Leading men in the race to get the coronavirus vaccine

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Inglewood business owner Aaron Moore is a COVID survivor and already has witnessed his wife Kimberly receive her first shot of the coronavirus vaccine that Blacks have been dreading to take.

According to the most recent study, only 3% of Americans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine so far, but in the case of Blacks a 16 states study that revealed data by race, and white were being vaccinated at significantly higher rates than Black, according to the analysis — in many cases two to three times higher.

In the most dramatic case, 1.2% of whites in the state of Pennsylvania had been vaccinated as of Jan. 14, compared with 0.3% of Black Pennsylvanians.

The snapshot of this alarming trend has sent government officials scrambling for methods to inspire more Blacks to get vaccinated.

Moore, doesn’t need any such inspiration.

“Like most people I just never thought I would catch it, until I did,” Moore explained to Inglewood Today. “It was the most frightening experience that I ever had. I couldn’t taste or smell, body aches and chills, the whole nine. Honestly I really did not know what the outcome would be.”

Moore is the principal owner of LA Lounge, a local cigar membership establishment which caters to Black businessmen.

Tony Wafford

While many Blacks are skeptical of the coronavirus vaccine, Moore is anxiously awaiting his opportunity to receive it.

“For me not to be open to taking the vaccine would be grossly neglecting me and my responsibly to my health, the health of my wife, family and friends. There is no question about taking the vaccine when it is available to me.”

John Coleman is a healthcare consultant, also caught a severe case of COVID that crystalized his perspective about the virus.

“I had a severe case of COVD in December 2020. It was very scary not only for me, but also for my family. Getting this virus and recovering has giving me a lot to think about,” he stated.

“We as Black men have to be prepared to take control of our health and the vaccine is a critical part in that process moving forward. It will allow for us to prioritize our health, along with being the role models that is required of us in our communities.”

Veteran Black health advocate and political consultant Tony Wafford is President and CEO of I Choose Life Health and Wellness Center (ICL) an organization founded to address health inequities in the Black community.

“I believe treatment trials like “Rise Above Covid” are so desperately needed in our community, not everyone infected with Covid-19 are going to be hospitalized but need treatment during their time of quarantine. What could be better than to be a part of not only a treatment trial where for weeks you are in constant communication with the doctor, you are helping the Black community better understand the need and the importance of our participation in treatment trials, you’re becoming a self-conscious agent of your own health and wellness, while being compensated $1,600.00 for your time, all of these things which are so desperately needed during these uncertain times.”

Wafford continued; “As a community we were not invited to be at the table of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, subsequently many of our people died unfairly and unnecessarily. We have an opportunity now to be the vanguards for our community in the planning, shaping, and messaging in what is best for African Americans around Covid-19. God may have created us all equal, but diseases and the treatment of disease are not monolithic. This is our time to be at the table not just symbolically but as diners, as Malcolm X once said, “Being at the table don’t make you a diner”, this is our time, we have an opportunity to set the menu, fix our own plate and sit down and eat. Black people let’s eat, Lets Rise Above Covid together.  

Wafford has worked tirelessly in partnership with community-based organizations and their entire membership to educate them on health literacy, increase access to health care, health screening, along with HIV and STI testing and education.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about Rise Above COVID are encouraged to go their website riseaboveciovid.org.

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