Vice President Kamala Harris says she’ll be visiting a pharmacy on Thursday (Feb. 25) to promote awareness of the coronavirus vaccine and says the drug is secure and can protect against transmission of the virus.
Rev. Al Sharpton previewed his conversation with Harris on MSNBC early Thursday, the full version of which will run on his PoliticsNation show this weekend. The vice president remarked on the African American community's hesitancy to get the vaccine but was reassuring.
“Yes, we must speak truth about the history of medical testing in this country,” Harris said. “We must be honest about the fact that people have a righteous skepticism about how it has been used, how it has been tested, and on whom it will be used.
“There’s a righteous skepticism if you know history, but I promise you and I’m telling you, this vaccine is safe and it will save your life and the life of your family and your community and we have it within our power to actually do that so get your vaccination when it is your turn.”
RELATED: VP Kamala Harris Discusses Reopening Schools In First Interview Since Being Sworn Into Office
This week, America passed the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that 28 million people in the United States have been infected. However, despite 45 million people in the country receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, African Americans have fallen behind whites in getting the shot.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 54.4 percent of people nationwide have had at least one dose. Of this number, 64 percent were white, while 6.4 percent were Black.
Sharpton said he was also hesitant about the vaccine, but Harris convinced him otherwise, and he plans to receive his first shot. “Let’s not let this thing get us,” she said. “We know Black people are disproportionately likely to contract the virus and die from it.
“We know when you look at who the front line workers are, who have been most at risk, disproportionately we are talking about people of color,” she continued. “When you look at the fact that Black small businesses...40 percent are going out of business or have gone out of business, it is disproportionately affecting us and if we want to get control of this virus that is harming us at a disproportionate rate, part of it is to get vaccinated when it is our turn.”
Harris also noted that Congress needs to pass the American Rescue Plan so that businesses suffering from the pandemic can get some economic aid, and individual payments can go to Americans.
“I have faith. I believe in our ability to get through this and to be better on the other side,” said Harris.
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.