Willie Brown, the outspoken former mayor of San Francisco, said he feels great after getting his doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and said he didn’t have side effects on the first or the second dose.
“They complained about soreness in the arm, they complained about running out of energy, my vaccination was almost like an injection for speed,” Brown, 86, who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, told local station KGO. “I accused them of putting water in my arm and they said, ‘No you just happen to be healthy.’ ”
Brown, the one-time mentor of Vice President Kamala Harris, publicly approved vaccination on Sunday as churches in San Francisco offered shots to people who qualified, but that is still being met with hesitance as it is in African American communities nationwide. Mistrust over racist practices in medicine and science over the course of generations have left Black people skeptical of the effects of taking the shot.
U.S. Census Bureau data shows that 24 percent of unvaccinated Black Americans younger than 40 are less likely to choose to get the vaccine, according to The Wall Street Journal. At the same time in the survey of about 80,000 people, 63 percent of people 65 years or older said they definitely would get the vaccine.
Meanwhile, vaccine availability in Black communities has been lagging over the past few weeks of the drugs being rolled out. As a result, African Americans are being vaccinated at a lower rate. In some states, Blacks are getting the shot at half the rate as whites, according to Kaiser Health News.
Brown himself is critical of the vaccination rollout, but says it’s essential to get the vaccine to communities just the way it happened with the polio vaccine in the 1950s, which essentially eradicated that disease.
“Forget this business of age, forget this business of occupation, or any of those things, let’s vaccinate everybody and if we do we’ll stop this disease,” said Brown.