Canadian News

Black Scientists Task Force Encourages the Black Community to Stay Vigilant

July 20, 2022 | Fennella Bruce |

July 20, 2022 (Toronto, ON) – With summer fun on the agenda, major cultural festivals and outdoor events are a big attraction for the Black community, which is why the Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity (BSTF) is reinforcing its message of COVID-19 precautions for this high-risk community. “We recently celebrated AfroFest – a 2 day outdoor event – with the majority of attendees being from the Black community,” says Dr. David Burt, Co-Chair of the BSTF. “Our concern is that very few people wore masks – mainly elderly folks had them on – and there wasn’t much social distancing. We all want to get to the way it was before the pandemic, however, COVID-19 and the new variant BA.5 are here, and we are definitely in a seventh wave.”

The BSTF is also concerned about the reluctance to get the third dose, which evidence shows gives added protection against severe disease. Many have stopped at one or two doses, when to be fully vaccinated, three shots are needed, plus the upcoming boosters. Black and racialized communities are still at higher risk than the general population to contract COVID-19 and as of 2021, at higher risk to be hospitalized.

The key messages the BSTF would like to get out to the community are:

  • 3 Vaccines + Booster will give the best protection

  • Vaccination will reduce the health risks of long COVID-19

  • You can get COVID-19 multiple times, but effects are minimized if vaccinated

  • COVID-19 is still here along with a new contagious variant BA.5

  • Masks need to be worn inside, and outside in large crowds

  • Social distance

  • Wash your hands

With large-scale cultural events such as Toronto Caribbean Carnival, TD JerkFest and Jamaica 60th Anniversary celebrations on the horizon, it is imperative that Black and racialized communities practice COVID-19 safety protocols. Through community outreach, social media and media messaging, the BSTF continues to encourage vaccination and education about the pandemic.

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