The world is now!  What are you waiting for? 

--Song lyrics - Wain McFarlane

I decided perhaps it might be beneficial if I began this reporting of the African American Child Wellness Institute’s (AACWI) ‘Healing Circle’ presented every Friday on Conversations with Al McFarlane with trusted, scientific information and recommendations. 

Ted Thompson, a healing arts specialist and life coach working with Dr. Bravada Garrett Akinsanya (Dr. B.) and the AACWI phenomenal team laid it out in an irrefutable manner. 

He said 92% of the people hospitalized due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated.  Consider not frequenting crowded gatherings, and continue to follow proper CDC protocols, he said.  As for help when circumstances become so overwhelming that one is on the brink of simply giving up and succumbing to the mess the world is in, remember our DNA carries ancestral resilience, perseverance. Faith runs through our veins.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky,  head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Do not underestimate the risk and serious consequences of this virus.  Unvaccinated people are about 30 times more likely to be hospitalized with the disease.”

As of September 27th, the numbers continue to be staggering.  In the United States alone - 43,424, 600 cases and 700,826 deaths.  Globally -  232,066,390 cases and 4,751,480 deaths. 

In Minnesota - 7-day average cases - 2,224.  7-day average deaths - 13.

“A little over 70 million Americans are not vaccinated, said Thompson.  I can’t understand why the pandemic statistics haven’t gotten the attention of at least some of these millions.  This is a deadly monster that’s now attacking our children and there’s no vaccine available for the younger ones.  I think it’s important that appropriate school age students and their parents understand how all of this got started, and more importantly, what we can do to educate others.  The unvaccinated are putting the vaccinated at risk, plain and simple.”

The COVID19 (corona) virus is not new, Thomson said. It’s called COVID19 because it pretty much surfaced and was identified in 2019.  It is referred to as ‘corona’ because the structure is round with spikes filled with protein.  The virus can get to you in many ways, especially with mutations and new variants.  The virus wants to survive.” 

Thompson explained that the Delta variant was a direct result of money, timing, and millions of data points that quickly changed the direction of prevention.  “The vaccine, masking, and social distancing were all we had to stop the spread.  But then, the economies around the world began to re-open.”

“People seem not to be able to trust the fact that information changes, said Dr. B.   They are not able to integrate and assimilate new evidence. Everything must be black or white.  But there’s a lot of grey in this world.  We just have to acknowledge and accept that fact while becoming and remaining flexible, creative, and wise.  Scientists will unabashedly admit they are building the plane while learning how to fly, but if you’re reading this article, the vaccine has cut the risk of serious illness and/or hospitalization by 70%. What the vaccine does is to allow your body to recognize the presence of these proteins and create antibodies to fight off the virus.  Even if someone has had the virus, the vaccine will still boost antibodies to ward off the threat.  Admittedly, there are breakthrough cases even when people have been fully vaccinated, but the percentage is low in comparison to the millions of lives it has saved.”

AACWI is currently conducting outreach across the broad metropolitan area.  They are disseminating a wide range of information they hope will answer some of the questions residents might have. 

Linda Etim is a mental health clinician.  She knows firsthand about vaccine hesitancy.  Her son had taken the first shot but decided not to take the second one.  The information regarding the vaccine has been contradictory and confusing now that they have introduced the boosters, she said. 

“We really do have to look at how we are presenting the most commonsense validation as to why we should be vaccinated,” Etim said.  “My work revolves around providing first a diagnostic assessment after which   referral information and services are recommended in areas such as general mental health therapy, addictions, anger management, and consistent follow-up.  Often, when patients come into the clinic complaining of physical ailments, they are having a panic attack.  And when anxiety intrudes on the mind, the physical body reacts and rational decision making is not going to be the end result.” 

It only takes a phone call to reach out for help and to explore available resources needed individually, as a family, and as a community, she said.

 How is trusted and reliable information distributed and explained in Black and other communities of color, not only in the United States, but around the world?  

Hospital workers in New York City say they plan to walk out if mandated to take the vaccine.  Still, these same medical, frontline workers are treating unvaccinated patients every day, present when many take their last breath.  The insanity of it all makes me shudder.   

Thompson recommends doing research through trusted information recommended by the CDC and authored by microbiologists or epidemiologists.  He encourages those unvaccinated to make their own decision but to use commonsense wisdom and to do so expeditiously.  There’s no confusion in the numbers of cases and deaths, he says.

Courage is not the absence of fear, Dr. B. says, “It’s the ability to do what we must do to survive and not only be alive, but to get back to truly living.  Leap frog over this stigma of mental health.  Often, we are our own problem.  We deserve to be well and that entails using our mental clarity and reasoning to do the right thing.  That starts with taking care of our physical bodies as best we can and to assume brave and grown-up like responsibility in gratitude.  If we choose not to heed to scientific and other professional recommendations as we battle this invisible and deadly enemy, and if we don’t reach out for help before it’s too late, our children and generations to come will not enjoy and thrive with the support and wisdom of their elders.” 

The World is Now!  What are you - what are we waiting for?


Coronavirus Q&As for Consumers

Q: Should I get a booster shot or an additional shot of a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: On Aug. 12, the FDA updated the emergency use authorizations (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised people.

On Sept. 22, the FDA amended the EUA for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series in:

  • People 65 and older.
  • People ages 18 to 64 at high risk of severe COVID-19.
  • People ages 18 to 64 whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19, including severe COVID-19.

Q: Should I take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19?

A: No. Although there are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. Read more about why you should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Read this Consumer Update to learn more about some of the available COVID-19 treatments and how to get more information about them.

Q: Who should I contact with drug-related questions?

A: If you have additional questions, call the FDA’s Division of Drug Information at 855-543-3784 or email us at druginfo@fda.hhs.gov.

For the latest information about COVID-19, visit:

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