JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Some in the African-American community are apprehensive about taking the COVID-19 vaccine. But after one medical expert’s husband spent 25 days on a ventilator, she says refusing it could be a matter of life and death.
“My husband contracted COVID-19 from an asymptomatic person, and he almost died,” said nurse practitioner Candance Childress. The Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center worker also contracted the virus but had mild symptoms.
Her husband, 40-year-old Keneen Childress, was healthy and active with no health issues until being hospitalized with the virus from June until August.
“When he went into full respiratory distress he coded,” said Childress. “While he was in ICU on the ventilator he experienced kidney failure. He had three mini strokes or three strokes. He also ended up having to have his toes amputated.”
Her husband of 14 years has since had to learn to walk and feed and bathe himself again. The healthcare worker recommends the vaccine.
“I know that it’s been said before that it is a hoax by many people who do not believe the virus is as serious as it is, but I can promise you it is,” said Childress.
“It’s important to have trusted voices to assure the community that the vaccine is safe,” said Rev. Hickman Johnson. The pastor of Farish Street Baptist Church took the vaccine to encourage African-Americans who fear it isn’t safe.
“Given the misinformation and the suspicion, it’s important that we listen to trusted voices, listen to the scientists and the physicians,” said Johnson.
“The things that we have been through over the last seven months and that we’ve encountered, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” added Childress.
The State Department of Health reports more than 5,000 deaths since the outbreak began. Nearly 1,800 are African-American.