Monday, August 02, 2021

LA Times columnists discusses how to persuade people in marginalized groups to get vaccinated, and it is quite "personal"


Trinity Presbyterian, Arlington VA, 2012

Los Angeles Times columnist Erika D. Smith writes today “I wish I could be angry with the unvaccinated. Being black makes that complicated.”

What she writes is predicable, but she sums it up when she says ““Yes, there may be some behaviors that are going on in Black and brown communities that are putting us at greater risk. At the same time, there’s a level of responsibility at a systemic or institutional level that’s contributing to that disparity”, quoting Dr. Roberto Vargas, from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science”.

Then she says “Vargas, who has been hearing Black people in South L.A. spout the same misinformation for months, says the only solution is for more people to get involved” followed by

Finally ““What does help look like? Like volunteering at a vaccination site or writing a check. Or talking to people and helping them get access to a doctor or a [healthcare] provider,” he said. “The things that we know make a difference to changing people’s lives might just be talking to someone else who’s been vaccinated. Help to foster that communication.”

OK, this is a bit of a challenge personally.  I write at home (I am 78) as a “pseudo-journalist”, and generally don’t get involved personally with other people’s needs, or socially outside of a very narrow circle.  I suppose my vaccination in March 2021 should have changed that.  I do deliver food to a local food bank (alone by car) sometimes.  But I haven’t spent time with people I don’t know.  Maybe the idea that even vaccinated people can carry the virus makes that problematic.  In fact, back with the pandemic started, hitting hard in March 2020 in the US, most volunteer agencies (like Food and Friends in DC) did not want the elderly to volunteer in person.  That could have changed with the vaccines.

In some years before the pandemic I volunteered sometimes one Saturday afternoon a month with a “Community Assistance” drive at a local church.  I was mostly checking eligibility cards or giving out bags.  It is hard to get involved with people’s personal needs, like their trying on used clothes.

Yet I can recall a youth sermon back in 2012 where a teen (whose personality resembled some of today’s more conspicuous YouTubers) talked about the idea that things have to get personal with people you don’t know, even when it goes against the grain of minding your own business.

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