MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With nearly 400,000 people dead of COVID-19 in the United States, researchers found it’s decreasing American’s life expectancy by more than a year, and more than two years for Latinos and African Americans in the country.
One Memphis pastor is trying to expand knowledge of the vaccine to the community’s African American population.
On Monday, Shelby County logged another 454 COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths.
Less than 2 percent of the county’s population has gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health.
So, now one local pastor feels like there is no better time than now to get information out about the vaccine to the community the virus has impacted the most.
“There’s a lot of mistrust in particularly in baby boomer generations that has been passed down to my generation,” Pastor Kia Moore said. “So my goal for this conversation is to clear up any misconceptions.”
Pastor Moore of The Church at the Well is hosting a vaccine forum Sunday January 31 for anyone who wants to watch, in particularly the African American Community.
Dr. Kizzmekia Crobett will also be speaking.
She’s the African American scientist whose research was crucial in the development of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Moore said there are many questions from who the vaccine was been tested on to what’s in it-- questions that Dr. Corbett can answer.
“That anxiety and uncertainty should be validated,” Pastor Moore said. “I don’t think we should brush over it or dismiss it particularly in the African American community. We have a history of not so great things happening to us through medical professionals.”
In Shelby County, African Americans make up 58 percent of COVID-19 cases and 56 percent of cases.
A study from USC and Princeton shows the pandemic will lower life expectancy by more than a year for white Americans and more than two years for African Americans and three years for Latinos.
“If you take an illness than kills 400,000 people in the United State alone, so far, and millions across the globe you’re going to decrease the average life expectancy of everybody,” Baptist Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Steve Threlkeld said.
On this MLK Jr Day, Moore said it’s a reminder of how far we’ve come, but the road that is still ahead.
“To move forward into 2020 and 2021 in a pandemic where a black woman led the team, alongside Dr. Fauci, to release this vaccine it’s a testament to how far we’ve come, but the inequitable distribution is also shows how far we have to go,” Moore said.
The forum will be Sunday January 31 at 12:15 p.m. CT.
It will be streamed on the church’s Facebook page.