Anthony Anderson wants to inspire people to have confidence in the COVID vaccine. And for the Black-ish star, getting his vaccine was personal.
"COVID-19 vaccination is important to me for several reasons. I'm an African-American male with a preexisting condition of type two diabetes. I'm also 50 years old," he tells Yahoo Life. "My mother is pre-existing condition as a type two diabetic, not grossly overweight, but overweight. And so it was important for the both of us to become vaccinated not only for ourselves, but also for the protection of our family, our friends and our community."
The actor admits that he would have been first in line to receive the vaccine when it was made available, but his mother was not as enthusiastic about the vaccine, like other Americans. According to the Census Bureau as of late April, 11 percent of U.S. adults are hesitant about getting their vaccine. And while a March survey found that 55 percent of Black respondents said they wanted the vaccination as soon as possible or were already vaccinated, 24 percent were still waiting to find out more about the vaccine’s effects. But Anderson says seeing the toll it took on people close to them pushed them to go.
"We've had family members be affected. My mom's sister and my mom's brother were severely affected by COVID. And I think that might've been a wake-up call for my mom, but more importantly, she went and spoke to her healthcare provider, who assured her that it was the right thing to do. So, one day I get a call, she said, 'Okay, I'm going with you to get vaccinated,'" he recalls.
Anderson and his mother would go on to get vaccinated as a part of his partnership with the mayor of Los Angeles and several council members that sought to educate the importance of Black and brown communities getting vaccinated. This was also a major feat for someone with trypanophobia.
"I'm not going to say deathly afraid of needles, but needles and I don't get along," he says. "But I would have to say, getting vaccinated was a walk in the park, before I could even say 'ouch,' the doctor was like, 'okay, you're done. You can go over there and sit down for 15 minutes.' I was like, 'that's it?' And it was like, 'yeah.' I was like, I didn't even get to scream, 'my mama.' He was like, 'yeah, but you're holding her hand.'"
After getting the vaccine, Anderson admits that he experienced soreness, but was fine after taking some Advil. Now completely vaccinated, he and his mother are two of over 117 million Americans that have been fully vaccinated, and he has "big" plans after all that happened over the last year, which include, "watching my, my LA Clippers play live again, sitting down with loved ones, kissing my nieces and nephews, and hugging my family, being out, playing golf with my boys."
On Thursday, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people can resume life as they did prior to the pandemic. And in partnership with Advil's #AfterMyShot campaign, Anderson hopes people can envision a future they can enjoy without the isolation and restriction of quarantine.
"I want to dine in a restaurant, not in an alley, not on a patio," Anderson says. "I want to get on the crowded plane and pretend to like the person sitting next to me in this conversation that we're having, as I'm trying to go to sleep."
At the end of the day, Anderson hopes that people talk with their healthcare provider and doctor to see what is right for them, something he and his mother made sure to do themselves.
"We are completely vaccinated now, both shots, a clean bill of health," he adds. "So we're ready to take on the world."
While he and his mother conquer their new beginnings, Anderson and his Black-ish castmates are doing the same as they prepare to film the last season of the popular sitcom, which also dealt with the struggles of the pandemic.
"We didn't dwell in there," he says of their touching on COVID. "We've wrapped season seven and we're moving to season eight. We'll start that in August. And it will be our finale season. It's bittersweet for me, moving forward for all of us, but all good things must come to an end."
Video produced by Stacy Jackman
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