Dr. Cameron Webb has a message about the Biden administration’s response to the Covid19 pandemic: it’s about community. The Senior Policy advisor for equity for the White House Covid19 Response Team recognizes the challenges facing Black communities across the country in the face of the virus that has killed over 600,000 Americans.
Of course, Dr. Webb’s first response is a reminder to follow the science. That means supporting mask guidelines, social distancing, and encouraging all people to get the vaccine.
When asked how to address the hesitation many people feel in taking the vaccine, Dr. Webb insists that the narrative doesn’t tell the whole story. “⅔ of Black Americans have taken the vaccine. 32 million Black citizens are eligible, and over 20 million have already had the vaccine.”
Continuing the work to beat the virus
He also acknowledges the fact that 3 in 10 people have not yet taken the two-shot mRNA Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson immunization. “A 60-70% vaccination rate doesn’t mean the work is done,” he said in an interview with The Black Wall St Times. “It means we have to be intentional in moving forward.”
And he knows that in order to beat COVID-19, communities must come together. “We have to not only survive, but thrive. And we do it our way,” he said, referencing barbershops, beauty salons, and faith-based organizations as sources of information and support about ways to fight the virus.
Dr. Webb knows too well the reality of COVID-19, which has hit Black communities especially hard, particularly at the start of the pandemic.
Closing the gap
Structural racism and inequalities led to higher cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among Black people versus their White counterparts. However, with the advent of the vaccine, and community support, the gaps are slowly closing.
The Biden administration’s response is focused on equity, knowing that without equity, the United States will never beat COVID-19. The American Recovery Plan includes ways to keep families together and children in school, along with other means of supporting communities.
One such response is building coalitions between organizations that support underserved communities. Advocates across the country have come together to support work that lifts up all citizens.
And that work will continue, according to Dr. Webb. “We are all in this together,” he said. “Now is the time to build coalitions, work together, and thrive.”