Why Aren’t People Getting Vaccinated in Shreveport and Bossier City?
The numbers speak for themselves. For what ever reason - and among the unvaccinated there are many - the vast majority of folks in the Shreveport and Bossier City area remain, in the lingo du jour, "un-jabbed."
According to statistics provided by COVID Act Now, only 36.8% in our area have received at least one dose and a mere 32.3% are fully vaccinated.
And how does that stack up against state numbers? Well, in Louisiana, 41% of the state has received at least one dose. Overall, 36% of Louisiana's population has been fully vaccinated.
But why are so many across the ArkLaTex still unvaccinated? A recent New York Times article on our area's low vaxx numbers implied that the holdouts are mostly backwoods, white, barely literate racists with an unwarranted distrust of government. And though there are a large number of libertarian-leaning conservatives with a skeptical view of the political machine, to say that they are the source of the state's growing COVID numbers is grossly unfair and inaccurate.
Longtime Shreveport political pundit Prentiss Smith certainly disagrees with the Times assessment, saying that there is just as much reticence in the African-American community. "A recent study shows that black people are the least vaccinated in Caddo Parish and surrounding areas, and the extraordinary outreach programs are not having any impact on improving that statistic. The truth is that older blacks are getting the vaccination, but young blacks are lagging far behind in obtaining the shots, and that is a problem.
" Less than 20% of the black people in this area are vaccinated, and that has to improve."
And Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins seemed to address all groups of anti-vaxxers in his recent letter to Shreveport city employees urging them to get the shot. "Vaccine hesitancy has been real and justified, but not anymore. I am an African-American that understands the reputation of our public health system. I am a Christian that understands the weight of what our Pastors tell us. I am an American who understands how interwoven our politics can be into our identity."
Only time will tell if a return of mask mandates and restrictions - or worse - are on the way. But one thing is for sure. Almost 70% of Shreveport and Bossier City's citizens remain unvaccinated. And that very, very large number is made up of folks who don't trust big government or big medical.
Who would have thought that in this era of heightened racial tension the one thing that both whites and Blacks would agree on is a collective distrust of Big Brother?
An interesting Kumbaya moment, for sure.