By Manny Otiko –IVN
Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA,) briefed members of the ethnic media on Monday. The press briefing was organized by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services.
The purpose of the briefing was to inform reporters about the plan to vaccinate Californians aged 5 to 11. This age group represents about nine percent of the state population. According to Ghaly, the state is gearing up for this mass vaccination operation.
He said the state had received permission from the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control to hand out the new vaccine. According to Ghaly, a pediatrician by training, the state currently has about 2 million doses of the vaccine.
“It’s really exciting to see this take place because we prepared long and hard for this moment,” said Ghaly.
The press briefing was also an opportunity for reporters to quiz Ghaly about vaccines. There is still a lot of resistance towards the Covid-19 vaccination in ethnic communities. Also, misinformation continues to be a significant hindrance. For example, there is still a belief among some people that the Covid-19 vaccine will affect fertility.
However, Ghaly dismissed this.
“There has been no correlation to fertility issues in adults (who took the vaccine),” he said
Ghaly reassured reporters that the new Covid vaccine, which is specially designed for young people, has been thoroughly tested. He said more than 4,000 people participated in the trials.
“The studies that were done to prove this vaccine is safe and effective at this dose were robust,” said Ghaly, who was also offered a chance to have his children participate in the test program.
The new vaccine for young people is also less potent than the original vaccine. According to Ghaly, the vaccine contains about a third of the dosage of the original vaccine.
Ghaly stressed that vaccines were the best form of protection against Covid.
“We must use this tool to protect our community,” he said. “Vaccines are the way through the pandemic.”
Recent medical data bolsters Ghaly’s point. According to a Texas Department of Health study, 85 percent of the 29,000 Covid death from Jan. 15 to Oct. 1 were unvaccinated people. Only 8 percent of those deaths were people who were fully vaccinated.
However, he warned that Covid-19 still poses a threat to young people. There was a rumor, repeated by former President Donald Trump, that young people were immune to the disease, but this is not true. Ghaly said young people are still contracting and dying from the disease.
Ghaly also pointed out that while many young people survive the disease, they later suffer from the condition of long-term Covid, which can cause cardiovascular damage, psychological problems, and problems with the endocrine system.
Ghaly also said that since Covid-19 is airborne and so prevalent in the community, it’s not a matter of if you get the disease if you’re unvaccinated, but when.
“If you’re not vaccinated, you will be affected,” he said
Finally, Ghaly said that vaccination is the only solution to ending the Covid-19 pandemic. And that is an important reason why people should take it and make sure their children get the vaccine.
“We’ve lost 70,000 Californians to Covid,” he said. “We have been looking for a miracle. The vaccine represents the best form of that.”
Inland Valley News coverage of local news in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support minority-owned-and-operated community newspapers across California.