By Rev. Ira Acree
Austin minister Ira Acree, senior pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church, will be joining other faith leaders Wednesday to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s his message to West Side residents:
There’s an urgent need for us as community leaders to do all in our power to stop the ‘coronavirus genocide’ that’s taking place among African Americans.
Blacks are dying three times faster than any other race.
African Americans don’t have the luxury of being cute, clever and conspiratorial, as it relates to this crisis. It’s imperative that we move forward in lightning speed, informed and with wisdom.
For many of us, we’ve longed and hoped for months, awaiting a panacea for this pandemic, and now that a vaccine has arrived, far too many are saying, “I’ll wait.”
We must remind everyone of the great risk that we take in waiting.
Understandably, many African Americans are suspicious of vaccines, primarily because of our history in this country but also because of the travesty of the Tuskegee experiment of 1932.
Of course, that was before we had a large population of black doctors and scientists in the medical field. I am proudly joining a coalition of other faith leaders who will publicly take the vaccine. We are not moving out of emotion, but we are very informed.
In fact, my personal physician is a woman of color. Illinois’s public health director, Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike, is Black, and the notable Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD, is among the National Institutes of Health scientists who worked directly and diligently to develop and produce the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (By the way, she’s Black and will one day be a celebrated national and global hero.)
I do understand that a small minuscule percentage of the population, for medical reasons, may be advised not to take the vaccine, but as for the rest of us, we should strongly consider getting it as soon as possible.
What about potential side effects, some may ask?
Side effects have been minimal.
I’d rather take the vaccine and be alive with side effects, than to die as a COVID-19 fatality. Sadly, there are more than 420,000 souls gone because of this deadly virus.
I urge those of you who are on the fence to consult your doctor for personal consultation on this very important life and death matter. Please, trust science and don’t be thwarted by superstition or suspicion.