As of this month, that’s the number of Americans who have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. By itself, this figure is startling. When you think about all the people reflected in that statistic, it becomes even more tragic. The people we have lost were our family, our friends and our neighbors. They are the frontline workers who helped keep our communities up and running. They are the teachers who educated our kids amid incredibly difficult circumstances. They are valued and loved by countless people, and now they are gone.
Among African Americans, this figure is worse. One in 480 of us have died in this pandemic. Once again, we are at greater risk from a serious public health threat because of the health disparities we have long suffered. Now, our country is in the throes of another deadly wave of COVID-19, which endangers all Americans, particularly Black Americans. The delta variant of the virus is extremely contagious and is more harmful to people who previously were at lesser risk, like young people. We are not out of this pandemic yet, and we must continue to take it seriously.
Now, fortunately, we have a tool that can save countless lives — the COVID-19 vaccines. Unfortunately, too many people have chosen not to protect themselves or others by getting the shot. Currently, only a little over half of Hoosiers are fully or partially vaccinated. As the delta variant rages across our state and our country, the data is showing that folks who are vaccinated are overwhelmingly protected from serious complications from the virus. On the other hand, the vast majority of people struggling for their lives in hospitals are unvaccinated.
So many of the people fighting for their lives chose not to get vaccinated, and many regretted it once they realized how dangerous this virus can be. The vaccine only protects you, fully, if you get it before you become infected. If you get sick and take a turn for the worse, it’s too late to get the vaccine.
That’s why I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated, because it could very well save your life and the lives of your family and friends. I know that there are a lot of people who are unsure about the vaccine, but I assure you — the facts do not match up with the rumors and the misinformation. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and the best tool we have to defeat this pandemic.
That’s why I got my vaccine, and I’m so glad I did. As a member of Congress, I travel back and forth frequently between Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., and I come into contact with a lot of people. It made sense to protect myself and others. Many of my family members have also gotten vaccinated, which makes me feel much better about spending time with them.
COVID-19 has devastated Black communities. If we don’t get vaccinated, especially because we bought into lies and misinformation, we are only hurting ourselves, our neighbors and our loved ones. Getting vaccinated helps keep us healthy to fight another day for the priorities that matter to us, like criminal justice reform, voting rights, better pay and much more.
If that makes sense to you, then what are you waiting for? Now is as good a time as ever to get vaccinated. If you are looking for information about how and where to get the vaccine, please call my office at 317-283-6516 or visit Carson.House.gov — there’s a helpful link right on the homepage.
Let’s all do our part to end this pandemic.
Rep. Carson represents the 7th District of Indiana. He is a Member of the Congressional Black Caucus and one of three Muslims in Congress. Rep. Carson sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, where he is chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation. Contact Rep. Carson at carson.house.gov/contact.