COVID-19 among Blacks in LA County. (307178)
COVID-19 among Blacks in LA County. Credit: Black Women Rally For Action

Black women are taking their health into their own hands in Los Angeles County.

Efuru Flowers is one of those women volunteering her time to enlighten the Black community. She’s the co-chair of Black Women Rally For Action – Los Angeles County, a coalition of diverse organizations and individuals dedicated to changing health and wellness disparities and inequities.

Flowers said Black COVID-19 cases are up for the seventh consecutive week in LA County. Meanwhile, Black people are lagging behind White people when it comes to being vaccinated. Only about 50 percent of Black residents have been vaccinated across the county, compared to more than 67 percent of White people.

However, it is important to note that the vaccination rate has increased over the last two weeks among Blacks. Flowers is encouraged that messaging is reaching more community members, as experts said the Delta variant is more prevalent among Blacks than other ethnic groups.

Meanwhile, community advocates know it is going to take some time to effectively reach younger Black people with credible and accurate information about vaccines.

“There is still much misinformation and myths about the vaccines circulating among Blacks,” said Flowers. “More needs to be done to reach unvaccinated Blacks about the benefits of getting vaccinated.”

Flowers and other concerned citizens are advocating for LA County to provide specific data on where the Delta variant surge hot spots are in the Black community because she sees a critical need for focused and targeted outreach among those areas at greatest risk.

“First and foremost, we need to continue to encourage people to seek verified, accurate, scientific information,” Flowers said.

Black Women Rally for Action uses its Facebook page and website, blackwomanrallyforaction.org, to share information from credible sources like the LA County Department of Public Health and the CDC.

“We also need to talk and listen to each other, learn why Black people have not been vaccinated and do so without judgment,” Flowers added before saying it is important to ask unvaccinated Blacks what incentives would encourage them to get vaccinated.

“Vaccinated Blacks should talk to their friends, family members and co-workers about their personal vaccine experiences.”

Meanwhile, Flowers suggests that if an unvaccinated person has a trusted physician or pharmacist, they should discuss the vaccines with that trusted person.

Advocates said the short-term and long-term consequences of contracting COVID-19 must be made clear to all age groups in the Black community.

“Finally, vaccinated Blacks should volunteer to make sure that people who are not vaccinated can get to appointments, that they know the locations and make sure they can get to the location,” Flowers continued. “Free rides are available.”

Advocates are encouraging everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to follow masking, social distancing, and other safety measures to slow the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The Black Women Rally for Action – Los Angeles County coalition, which does not accept government grant funding, is dedicated to advancing health, economic and social equity for all Los Angeles County Black women through direct action and connection to effective resources. In April, the group launched its ongoing COVID-19 social media outreach campaign to address COVID-19’s impact on the Black community.