Commentary: The vaccines are available, but we are not taking them

Commentary: The vaccines are available, but we are not taking them
July 28
11:32 2021

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Here are some facts that I want to share in the public square. I am fully vaccinated, wear my mask, wash my hands, and practice social distancing. My immediate family members have done the same.

COVID-19 is serious, and you can die from it. That’s not a political statement, that is a health statement.

Recently, I heard someone being interviewed on television say she was not vaccinated. She said it with a mix of arrogance and ego. The interview ended with her saying that she did not trust the government.

My initial thought was, what does trust in the government have to do with listening to healthcare experts and providers? 

Unfortunately, this wayward thinking is creating more deaths in America. Peddlers of lies and half-truths are winding up in the hospital on ventilators. 

It is my opinion that too many folks have alternative thinking based upon what some political and community leaders say. I would not be surprised if they had their shots, albeit in secret.

One leader received the vaccine, along with his family, and then said the vaccine was a hoax and did not work. Too bad many people believed him.

President Joe Biden said on Wednesday on CNN, “We have a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten the vaccination.” Let’s hope his plea falls on open ears and the un-vaccinated get vaccinated.

One person who stayed un-vaccinated for months was Congressman Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana. He is recently vaccinated. He said, “Especially with the delta variant becoming a lot more aggressive and seeing another spike, it was a good time to do it.” He received his first Pfizer dose last week. Representative Scalise added, “When you talk to people who run hospitals in New Orleans or other states, 90% of people in hospitals with delta variant have not been vaccinated. That’s another signal the vaccine works.”

Mr. Scalise, I will humbly say the vaccine worked months ago for many people who took it. And yes, there were exceptions to this assertion.

In any case, it is good that Congressman Scalise joined the ranks of the vaccinated. He can spread the word and be a role model for those who are hesitant.

Our nation is in a precarious position. COVID-19 or the delta variant, whichever you prefer to say, is still with us. The numbers do not lie. Hospitals are getting crowded again with COVID-19 patients.

This reluctance to take the vaccine is puzzling to me. Tens of thousands of people have passed away from this illness.

Now we have medications and people are giving all types of reasons and excuses not to take it. Mind you, it is Black people and white people with this vaccine phobia.

States have gone to vaccine gimmicks just to get people to take the shots. Some are offering cash prizes and even college scholarships just to take something that is good for you.

Athletes and movie stars tell us to take the vaccine because they have already taken their vaccine. Personally, I did not need either to convince me to take the shot. I took it because I trusted medical professionals and their opinions about the virus.

Some folks sit up proud, stubborn and sick, instead of using common sense. Why is common sense in short supply when it comes to taking the vaccine?

Reports say many Americans over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated. Percentage wise, that is 56.6%, a bit more than half of us.

My fellow Americans, we can do better, and we must do better. Do it for yourself and for those who love you.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at

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