Communities of Color and COVID-19

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DHEC wants to make sure everyone is protected from COVID-19. People of color are affected by this disease at higher rates than others for several reasons:

  • Many work in jobs serving people.
  • They are more likely to have conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
  • They don't have low-cost health care or access to care.
  • They face discrimination.

DHEC has put together information to help people know what they can do to be safe and protect themselves from COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?

It is a type of virus that easily spreads and causes flu-like symptoms. Sometimes it causes serious problems with breathing and the lungs.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after coming into contact with the virus. Symptoms include: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headaches, tiredness, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

DHEC is offering pain-free testing that is free for everyone. To find a testing location near you, visit DHEC’s testing locator webpage or call the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432.

Have a general question about COVID-19? Call the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week. Messages left after hours will be returned.

COVID-19 & Chronic Disease

People of color are affected by chronic diseases, like diabetes, at a higher rate than others. These conditions can make people more at risk of getting seriously sick with COVID-19. You should take special care to prevent getting COVID-19 if you have any of these conditions.

According to the CDC, people of any age with the following conditions are more at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity
  • Severe Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

According to the CDC, people with the following health conditions might be at an increased risk as well:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system due to blood or bone marrow transplant, certain deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or other medicines
  • Brain and nervous system conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

The COVID-19 Vaccine

What does the vaccine do?

It helps your body not get sick in the future by helping it recognize and respond to the virus.

Can you get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. It does not contain the virus; you can’t get the virus from the vaccine. The vaccines contain the gene for a virus protein only.

Is the vaccine safe for minorities?

It had to be tested on many people, including people of color, before it could be shared with the general public.

The Pfizer vaccine clinical trial’s participants were 10% Black, 26% Hispanic/Latino, 1.1% Native American and 5% Asian as of late December.

The Moderna vaccine clinical trial’s participants were 10.2% were African American, 20.5% were Hispanic or Latino, 0.8% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 4.6% were Asian, 0.2% were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 2.1% were Other, and 2.1% were Multiracial.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

You may get tired or have pain, swelling, fever, chills, or headaches. Side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information on what to do if you have any of these symptoms. If you have concerns, contact your health care provider.

Have questions about COVID-19 vaccines or need help finding vaccine providers? Call the new COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Other COVID-19 Concerns

  • Some people are taking natural remedies to help them feel better. The National Institutes of Health say that there is “no scientific evidence that any of these alternative remedies can prevent or cure COVID-19. In fact, some of them may not be safe to consume.” You should discuss any home remedies used with your doctor and follow any directions they give.
    • There are some proven methods of treating COVID-19. According to the CDC, there is one approved drug to treat the virus, and a few treatments that can be taken outside of the hospital if you’re at risk of getting very sick.
    • Monoclonal antibodies are a treatment for COVID-19 approved under an FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). These are lab-designed antibodies that can detect the virus and help your body get rid of it.
    • Most people who catch COVID-19 will only have mild or moderate illness and can be treated with drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest.

    FAQ

    How much is the vaccine?

    The vaccine itself is free. Some providers may charge for an office visit or fees for carrying out the vaccination but will bill your insurance. If you do not have insurance, the costs of giving the vaccine are paid for by HRSA, part of the federal government. There are no out-of-pocket costs. If someone is trying to make you pay for getting vaccinated, they are breaking the law, and are probably a scam. They might not even have real vaccine.

    What kind of identification will you need to get the vaccine?

    Any ID that proves that you qualify for the current phase getting the vaccine. (For example, age 65 and older for Phase 1a.) You can get a vaccine even if you do not have insurance, a driver’s license, or a Social Security number.

    Who can get vaccinated?

    Everyone – regardless of color, residency, having health insurance or income. If you live in South Carolina part of the time, you can get vaccinated here

    When will I get vaccinated?

    You can find the list of who is in what phase on scdhec.gov/vaxfacts or in Spanish at scdhec.gov/vacunaCOVID19.

    How to get my vaccine?

    • The number of vaccines available is small right now, so we are trying to vaccinate the most at risk first. You can find out where you are in line here.
    • For help finding information to make an appointment, visit scdhec.gov/VaxLocator or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line at 1-866-365-8110. COVID-19 vaccines are by appointment only; walk-ins may not be able to receive vaccine.
    • You will be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of ID at your appointment to show that you are in the right phase.
    • You do not have to live in South Carolina to get the vaccine.
    • Some people may be able to get the vaccine through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Find more information about their process < a href="https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/">here.

    African American

    African Americans are highly affected by COVID-19. The CDC reports that blacks have higher death rates than whites in heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and HIV. These diseases associated with higher risk of getting seriously sick with COVID-19.

    • DHEC understands that there are many concerns that the African community has around the vaccine. Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist, did an interview with the NAACP to talk about these concerns.
    • Watch Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist, be vaccinated:
    Dr. Bell Receives Her COVID-19 Vaccination - Interview
    • You can find out more information about the vaccine at scdhec.gov/vaxfacts and our Frequently Asked Question page.
    • If you would like to share information about the vaccine, please visit the Stay SC Strong Vaccine Toolkit.

    Have questions about COVID-19 vaccines or need help finding vaccine providers? Call the new COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week

    Native American

    Native Americans and tribal communities are highly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to John Hopkins University, even before COVID-19, Native American Indians were more impacted by infectious disease than any other population in the U.S. Diabetes and obesity also have high rates in the community, which are also risk factors in getting very sick from COVID-19.

    Have questions about COVID-19 vaccines or need help finding vaccine providers? Call the new COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week.

    Latino Community

    Latinos are highly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Latinos suffer from heart disease, and diabetes, as well as asthma, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and other diseases, according to the CDC. These conditions lead to higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

    Have questions about COVID-19 vaccines or need help finding vaccine providers? Call the new COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week. They have staff that speak Spanish.

     

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COVID-19