LOS ANGELES — As children return to school, communities are moving forward and returning to pre-pandemic life styles. But are too many risks being taken?
That is the message by a University of Southern California’s public service announcement that is making a push to get more people vaccinated.
What You Need To Know
- The message USC's new PSA is blasting out is an effort to get people vaccinated
- As part of that campaign, USC has partnered with community organizations, including Community Build, to remind communities that the threat isn't over
- Last year, USC launched a campaign called Vaccinate LA with several programs to encourage minority communities to get vaccinated and boosted
- For more information about the campaign, visit vaccinatela.info
Although COVID cases are decreasing overall, in California, Black people are dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate, from one death per 100,000 in July 2021, to 10.4 per 100,000 in March, according to an analysis by CalMatters.
Last year, USC launched a campaign called Vaccinate LA with several programs to encourage minority communities to get vaccinated and boosted.
As part of that campaign, USC has now collaborated with several community organizations, including Community Build, to urge Black and Brown communities that the threat is not over with new PSA telling stories of those who lost loved ones to COVID.
Everywhere Bari Singleton looks are memories of his brother. He moved to LA from New York just to be closer to him, but they had less than a year together before Daily Barnwell died from COVID.
Now, Bari feels lost.
“I think about that often - am I going to be able to, mentally, stay in Los Angeles,” Singleton explained.
Singleton’s brother, Daily, was just 29 years old when he got COVID. It was January 2021, and the vaccine was not widely available, especially for his age group.
“He’d say, ‘I’m coughing brother,’” Singleton started. “I’d say, is it the COVID cough? But thinking that my brother was 29 years old, and he was healthy.”
A month later, Barnwell died.
Singleton is still reeling, though more than a year has passed since his brother’s passing.
It is stories like Singleton’s that the Vaccinate LA USC campaign has put together in partnership with several local communities and hospitals to create the PSA.
Dr. Lourdes Baezconde Garbanati is the associate dean for community initiatives at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, who helped to write the proposal and secure the funding to launch the campaign.
“People are still dying from COVID and people are still being hospitalized, especially if they have not vaccinated, so the controls that we’ve been able to put in place is because we’ve gotten a whole lot of people vaccinated,” Dr. Garbanati explained. “But our communities, in particular the Black and Brown communities, are not fully vaccinated yet.”
It is why she is still working with Dr. Carolina Aristizabal, a public health physician and manager for the USC Office of Community Outreach and Engagement daily to train and speak on panels targeting minorities.
Dr. Aristizabal said that in LA County, only 56% of the Black community and 58% of the Hispanic community is fully vaccinated. That is compared to 72% of the Caucasian community.
“Even more the Brown and Black communities between 18 and 21 years of age haven’t gotten vaccinated yet,” said Dr. Aristizabal.
It is a choice, Singleton said, his brother did not have, so he can’t sit idly without urging others that there’s still a need to take this seriously.
“People have a choice and you can not get vaccinated or if you choose, but it’s so much more than about you,” Singleton said through tears. “It’s about the other people that are around you.”
Hoping to continue taking two steps forward without three steps back.
For more information about the campaign, visit vaccinatela.info.