COVID-19: I.E. Unvaccinated Threatens Surge
By Dianne Anderson
As predicted, outbreaks of the bigger badder cousin of Covid-19 show a surge in new cases nationally, and almost all now filling up hospital wards are unvaccinated.
Now called the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” the CDC reports cases topped a 70% increase nationwide with deaths up 26% last week, and counting. Los Angeles County is seeing a 500% increase in cases since June.
“Absolutely. L.A. is looking at numbers like at the beginning of COVID again, and San Bernardino is not too far behind,” said Pastor Samuel Casey, who serves as Executive Director of Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE).
So far, 185 million people, about half of all Americans, have received at least one dose of the vaccine in the U.S.
Today, 99.5% of all deaths are among the nation’s unvaccinated population.
Pastor Casey said the hardest part of convincing the Black community that the vaccine is safe is overriding the damage done from historic medical abuses. Most people are familiar with the horrors of the Tuskegee experiments and Henrietta Lacks, only two in a long list of unethical medical experimentation against Black people in America.
Not helping matters, he said not enough is being done to address vaccine hesitancy outreach to communities of color, specifically in the Black community.
“Another challenge is that Black folks don’t trust white folks putting needles in their arms. They barely trust Black folks putting needles in their arms,” Casey said.
It’s been a tough COVID year, and he doesn’t want to see the same carnage continue in the community with this next wave of the Delta mutation.
He got his shot after rising above his own vaccine hesitancy.
“I was completely against it at first until I had family members get ill, I had an uncle pass in April 2020. I’ve never had a flu shot before,” he said.
He feels that a few other reasons may be behind San Bernardino County at less than 40% vaccination of its total population.
He is concerned the County Board of Supervisors serve areas of constituents that are against the vaccine, but it’s negatively impacting outreach in communities of color.
He said there is no major push for vaccines in the high desert, the eastern end of the county, the west end, like Rancho Cucamonga, Upland and other communities, he said.
Supporting the vaccine usually means upholding restrictions, which isn’t popular within the business community. He said another disconnect is the condescension with how the county interfaces with the Black community.
“We refuse to partner with the county any further because their customer service is horrible. They don’t know how to talk to people. They don’t know how to engage the community,” he said.
The community isn’t rushing out to their doctors, but access to decent quality care is essential.
“I’m experiencing it myself, they expect black folks to endure [higher pain tolerance] before something is done about the circumstances. Because we are engaged that way, we’re hesitant to go to the doctor’s appointment,” he said. He’s been going to the same doctor for 20 years, and even though he shows up for annual preventive visits, he said his doctor doesn’t recognize him.
In recent months, his organization had success with Loma Linda University, working to get the community vaccinated. He is looking forward to continued partnerships to get resources to the community.
Right now, time is of the essence.
“With school getting ready to start back the priority is to try to get all school-age children 12 and older vaccinated. That’s a major priority and push right now. Akin to that is the unvaccinated adults,” he said.
To find out more about how to get the vaccine, see
For more information on vaccine and pregnancy, see American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
For more information on where to get the vaccine, see
For CDC vaccine demographic, see https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccination-