By Annette Lesure
Notable East Los Angeles College alumni encourage Angelenos to get the COVID-19 inoculation as LA County grapples with the public’s vaccine fears.
While concerns run high for some LA County residents about getting the vaccine, others got vaccinated and spread the word.
Among those vaccinated are Antonio Villaraigosa, former Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, and actor Edward James Olmos.
Villaraigosa sported a new “COVID do” and shared photos publicly as he received his vaccine with AltaMed Health Services in Los Angeles on April 8. He then shot a TV and social media public service announcement encouraging Angelenos to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Olmos took to Twitter with selfies of his two vaccines and also encouraged everyone to get vaccinated. “Second COVID vaccine shot. Grateful to all that made it possible. In immortal words of my great-grandfather, ‘I would rather die trying than not.’ Come on Raza, VACCINATE! Por Vida! #chicanoscontracovid19 #latinxVaccinated #MayansMC #SoSayWeAll #Vaccinate,” wrote Olmos on a post dated February 17.
Personally, I, too, had big reservations about vaccinating my 16-year-old son and myself. I have severe allergies to medications and heard about people having adverse side effects.
My 73-year-old mom, with a decent-sized medical record, received both Moderna shots. I then had the ease of knowing she had handled her shots like a champ with no repercussions.
My son and I opted for Pfizer. It was the first time in his life that he got to weigh in on a big medical decision. Both of my vaccines went fine, with only a sore arm, a few headaches and fatigue for a week. My son got a milder version of my side effects and bounced back in one day. He is due for his second shot on May 1.
While I still have typical parent concerns about vaccinating my son, the risk of his return to track and catching COVID-19 seemed so much higher without the vaccine.
Vaccine hesitation could prevent LA County from reaching its goal. “Herd immunity will require 80% of eligible residents to get vaccinated, or roughly 8 million people,” LA County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a recent public statement.
Ferrer said progress had been made in the last 10 weeks to increase vaccinations in Hispanic and Black communities that have been hard-hit by the pandemic. She said there had been a vaccination increase in more than 300% of Black residents 16 and older, and more than 400% for Latinos.
“If you’re looking for a way to dramatically reduce your risk of getting infected with COVID or dying from COVID, getting a vaccine is an exceptionally powerful tool for doing just that,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer shared statistics to encourage residents further to vaccinate. Before vaccines, one in every ten LA County residents was infected with COVID-19. Post-vaccine, the national rate is one in 13,275. She said the risk of dying from COVID has gone from one in 500 to about one in one million.
Vaccine reactions are definitely easier to tolerate than those of being infected with COVID-19, being on a ventilator or dying.