As California Reopens, Black Doctors Answer Nagging COVID Questions

As California Reopens, Black Doctors Answer Nagging COVID Questions

Tanu Henry | California Black Media

Can COVID vaccines affect fertility? Were Black people used in the COVID vaccine research studies? Do you still need to get vaccinated if you’ve already had COVID-19? What is emergency use authorization?

These are just four out of about 50 resurfacing questions a group of Black doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals answers in a video intended to penetrate clouds of misinformation about COVID-19 as it provides vital information that address lingering questions, still unanswered, that many people have about COVID-19.

The video titled “A Conversation: Between Us, About Us,” is moderated by Palo Alto native, comedian and San Francisco resident W. Kamau Bell. The video is produced with the support of a partnership between the Black Coalition Against COVID (BCAC), a national advocacy group, and the San Francisco-based Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a philanthropic non-profit focused on generating data and resources to equip policymakers and the general public with important health information.

Berkeley-based Jacob Kornbluth Productions worked with KFF and BCAC to create the videos. California Health Care Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund and Sierra Health Foundation also contributed to funding the production and distribution of the video.

“I was a part of the expert African American panel, which is a group of providers like myself – with doctors, nurses, community people, et cetera. This is a group that was created through National Institutes of Health to review the various vaccine protocols for the different companies that were developing the vaccines,” said Orlando Harris, a public health researcher, during the introduction of the video featuring him.

The healthcare professionals’ push to educate African Americans with the intention to reduce “vaccine hesitancy” is just one of many other similar campaigns around the country organized by civil rights organizations, government agencies, professional organizations, community groups, foundations and others.

The information they are providing comes at a time when California is taking major steps to relax social isolation guidelines, reopen large businesses like theme parks and restart in-person learning for children attending K-12 public schools. Last week, Gov. Newsom announced that the state is investing $6.6 billion into recovery efforts that include facilitating the safe reopening of schools.

On Friday, Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary, said he believes as more Californians become vaccinated the safter it would be to change the state-issued guidance on restricted activities. Theme parks could reopen as soon as April 1, he said.

“We feel like now is the appropriate time to begin to reintroduce these activities in some fashion and, again, in a guarded way, in a slow and steady way, with the other protective factors of the blueprint all sort of wrapped around it,” Ghaly said during the news briefing.

The medical professionals who participated in “Conversation” project say the information they

Funding Remains to Aid Small Businesses

A program San Bernardino County created to help small businesses overcome some of the challenges they face during the COVID-19 pandemic still has millions available to support local businesses.

The COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program was launched in May using $30 million in federal emergency relief funding, and so far, a little more than 3,000 small businesses have been approved for the program.

In order to qualify for funding, businesses can only have between 1 and 100 employees and must have a storefront where they serve customers. Self-employed individuals with no employees are not eligible; however, barbers and hair stylists who rent space are eligible. Nonprofit organizations with storefronts are also eligible.

Partners also must demonstrate compliance with State/County public health orders, and incorporate safety and social distancing practices and measures in their business operations, including requiring employees and customers to wear masks.

Approved businesses can apply for grant funding of up to $2,500. For business owners with multiple storefront locations, the first qualifying business location is eligible for $2,500, with each additional eligible business location receiving $1,000. They can also purchase personal protective equipment directly from the County at cost.

So far, the program has distributed more than $7 million to local small businesses, and those businesses have purchased more than $100,000 worth of personal protective equipment through County sources.

Approved businesses also receive a window placard they can display to show their customers they are taking measures to fight the pandemic.

More than 200 larger businesses have also joined the program even though they don’t qualify for funding. However, they do receive a COVID-Compliant Business Partner placard for their front windows.

You can view a map of our approved partners at this link

Business owners interested in applying for the program can do so at this link