OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma’s Legislative Black Caucus and community leaders are putting out a call to action Friday – hoping not just the black community, but everyone, will get vaccinated.
“It doesn’t care if you’re black, white, blue, green – the variant can be contagious, and is now causing people to get really ill,” said OSDH’s Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, Floritta Pope.
Oklahoma State Representative Jason Lowe says only about 24% of our state’s black community is fully vaccinated.
He cited CDC information that says black Oklahomans are three-times more likely to be hospitalized and two-times more likely to die from COVID-19.
“Our fight to end the pandemic is far from over,” said Rep. Lowe.
So why the push now?
Lowe explained that one of the biggest issues he’s come across is people believing misinformation spreading online.
“We want to make sure that folks realize this vaccine is absolutely safe,” he said.
The caucus also hoping to increase vaccine access to minorities and rural communities.
“Our attitude toward this has got to change. We have got to start pressing the issue to make sure that not only we are safe but that our whole communities are safe,” said Sen. George Young.
Pope says outreach has been a primary focus for the OSDH, and that work won’t stop.
“We’re going to make every effort to make this vaccine available if you want it,” she said.
A recent grant from the CDC will allow them to put money toward faith, tribal, and rural communities, as well as community partners, to continue the work they’ve been doing to combat this deadly virus.
“We must coordinate our delivery systems to help utilize the excess number of vaccinations in minority communities,” said Representative Ajay Pittman.
Efforts like this she says are crucial.
“I’m tired of losing friends, because of the fact that we are reluctant to get a vaccine,” said Pope.
This group of leaders concluding with a profound message: “It’s here, it’s time, and it’s available.”
“Do it for your mother, do it for your brother, do it for your sister, do it for yourself, let’s do it for Oklahoma,” said Pope.
Pope says another focus for them has been kids ages 12+.
She says they have been hosting events, and are planning future events, at high schools around the metro.
Pope reminding everyone if you are wanting the vaccine and don’t know where to look call 2-1-1.