NewsLocal News


Officials stress importance of vaccinations for everyone, especially minorities heavily impacted by COVID-19

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 20:06:54-05

KILLEEN, TX — According to the CDC, both Black and Hispanic communities die from COVID-19 at a near 3% higher rate than the white population, and their hospitalizations are worse than that.

In that population is Patrick Arryn, who knows how deadly this virus can be.

“I’ve dealt with more death than ever last year,” the founder of Change Is Here said. “And 90% of those who died from COVID were Black and brown, you know Black and Hispanic.”

Arryn contracted COVID-19 at the peak of the pandemic and says he’s been feeling the effects ever since.

His case is just one of the many plaguing minority communities.

“We understand that our population of Hispanics are [more prone to] about 2.5% more than the average person,” said Juan Rivera, the president of the Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce of Central Texas. “We are concerned, we are very concerned.”

With two COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, approved for emergency use, experts explain that most of the country needs vaccinations to fight this virus.

Local healthcare providers say it’s going to take all Central Texans to accomplish such a task.

“If anyone of those groups would not participate, we would never reach 70% as a whole community,” said Karen Percell, the executive director quality management of AdventHealth of Central Texas. “It’s really important that we are able to look beyond those barriers and really see that this is really for the greater need of the community.”

But as far as who’s willing to take it, that’s where opinions differ.

“We’ve been disadvantaged, you know way before my time with segregation and everything else that’s going on,” Arryn explained. “But it’s one of the reasons why I won’t be getting the shot any time soon.”

“I’m not going to wait for the outcome,” Rivera countered. “If something comes out of the outcome, I want to be part of it.”

No matter what side of the aisle you reside, experts believe this vaccine is a step in the right direction.

“If we work together, we can really use this vaccine to eliminate COVID so that it’s not something that allows us to continue to live how we’re living right now,” Percell said.

Dr. Percell explained how she recognizes the mistrust between healthcare and minorities but says there has been great representation during vaccine research.