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ATLANTA, Ga. — The latest Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) data reveals African Americans are still disproportionately affected by Covid-19. They are the second racial demographic most likely to contract and die from the highly contagious and deadly virus. American Ingenious and Alaskan Natives remain first.

To slow the spread and death rate in communities across the country, the NFL Alumni Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are teaming up and tackling COVID-19 through its information, awareness, and vaccination campaign. The NFL Alumni held its kickoff event at Center Parc Credit Union Stadium (Centennial Olympic Stadium). 

Dexter Davis
Dexter Davis, Vice President of the NFL Alumni Association Georgia Chapter | Photo by The Black Wall Street Times Staff

As of August 26, 2021, 203 million people in the United States (U.S.) have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 173.5 million Americans are fully vaccinated, roughly 52% of the U.S. population.

Some families rethink vaccine after relatives’ death

Shryetta Jackson received her first vaccination along with one of her daughters at the campaign launch event held in Atlanta. Jackson said she was initially hesitant to get the Covid-19 shot. She said the death of her granddaughter was what drove her to have her whole family vaccinated. 

“My granddaughter passed from the virus as soon as she was born. She lived four hours, and she passed from Covid-19,” Jackson said. Jackson says when her 11-year-old turns 12 next month, she’ll be receiving the vaccination. “My husband will be vaccinated today, along with my son.”

“We’ve done a lot. We’ve done a lot individually and collectively as a society to lock down Covid-19. We’re well on our way. Like we’re in a football game, this pandemic is going to take individual effort as well as everybody doing their part. Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is the best way to protect you, your family, and your community,” Dexter Davis, president of the NFL Georgia Alumni Chapter, said. “We hope that by speaking out, we might inspire people who may have concerns about vaccination to talk to their doctor and make an informed decision to protect themselves, their families and our community.”

Davis says the  NFL Alumni Health plans to continue their initiative in other states as well. 

Atlanta Falcons’ long snapper Josh Harris and former running back Warrick Dunn are two NFL players among many who are lending their platforms to the education and awareness campaign on the importance of Covid-19 vaccinations. 

Josh Harris
Atlanta Falcons Long Snapper Josh Harris | Photo by The Black Wall Street Times Staff

“It’s a personal decision” with a community impact

Harris told the BWSTimes that he received a Covid-19 vaccination and that his immediate family was also fully vaccinated. He said that he does have some family members who are still hesitant to get the vaccine. 

“It’s a personal decision for everybody to make. Whether somebody chooses to or chooses not to, you know, that decision is ultimately up to them. Everybody can be educated and research as much as they can to be able to make that decision for themselves,” Harris stated. 

“I think it’s really important to get vaccinated just to be safe, keep your community safe. And if you’re not sure about it, definitely research it. I think it has more benefits,” Rachel Carroll, right fielder for Clark Atlanta University’s (HBCU) softball team, said.

[Right] Rachel Carroll Clark Atlanta Athlete, [Left] Rime Clark, Clark Atlanta Athlete

As the new Delta variant continues ripping through communities, Warrick Dunn, former NFL running back and part-owner of the Atlanta Falcons encourages vaccination. 

“We have to work as a team, listen to the science and get our shots for the benefit of all,”  “This campaign is a natural extension of my life on and off the field, where I learned to work together to create a bigger impact. I hope every person who reads this will heed our call and get the vaccine,” Dunn notes.

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...