Former Orange County Commissioners Mable Butler and Commissioner Homer Hartage joined forces to promote increase participation of African Americans and Latinos in the upcoming Covid-19 vaccinations. Blacks and Latinos mistrust in medical institutions due to a history of discrimination is leading many to postpone getting the vaccination or not getting it at all.
Former Orange County Commissioners Mable Butler and Homer Hartage are encouraging Black and Latino communities to participate in the vaccination program against Covid-19. Over the next few months Butler and Hartage will actively promote the vaccine to increase the participation of African Americans and Latinos in the national vaccination program.
Butler and Hartage said that they would take the vaccine live on TV if it would help African American gain confidence in it. They are leading by example.
“I think the benefits of taking the vaccination outweigh the risk,” said Butler. “Some people’s bodies may not be able to handle it [the vaccine], but I am for it and I encourage black people who can get it to take it.” Commissioner Butler added, “I am like President Obama, I’ll take it when Dr. Fauci says it is OK.”
“Look, I am like a lot of people,” said Homer Hartage. “I am not a real vaccine taker, in the pass I have not taken the flu vaccine, due to my lack of trust and historical racism in the medical system going back to the Tuskegee Study. But I believe the Covid-19 vaccine is different.
Hartage agree with Commissioner Butler, that every Black person who can get the Covid-19 vaccine should take it.”
In the Tuskegee Study Blacks were secretly studied for syphilis in a government approved program and were not treated for the syphilis disease. This study only ended in 1972.
Both commissioners are in high-risk categories for Covid-19. Commissioner Mable Butler is 94 years old and Commissioner Hartage is 69, and a prostate cancer survivor since 2002. They agreed, that if there is anything, they can do to help save lives of the most venerable in their communities they would do it.
They urged other Black and Latino community influencers, elected and former elected officials to step up as well to join them in promoting Covid-19 vaccination.
Hartage volunteered for the AstraZeneca trials and received his shot Monday morning. “I did it to show confidence in the vaccine and because they were having a hard time getting Black people to participate in the trials due to mistrust in the medical system,” Hartage said. “I hope my participation the AstraZeneca trials will encourage other African Americans and Latinos to participate in the Covid-19 trials.
Without participation it will be harder to determine its effectiveness in our communities.” Hartage said, “the trial vaccine was like most other vaccines, with only a little soreness at the injection site and mild nausea.”
Mable Butler was the first African American elected to the Board of Orange County Commissioners, Homer Hartage was her successor and the first African American male elected to the Board in Orlando, Florida.
To participate in the AstraZeneca trial, register at www.oicorlando.com.