(NEW YORK) — Nurse Carla Brown went beyond her call of duty during the coronavirus pandemic to help vaccinate her community. Now, Brown is sharing her story with “The View.”
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, nurse wants to help the elderly, homebound and those who don’t have access to a site close by get a COVID vaccine. As of Wednesday, Carla and her COVID Crusaders have administered 750 vaccinations since starting their mission in March.
Brown’s mission of goodwill comes from a very personal place. While working as a hospital psychiatric nurse in May 2020, Brown unknowingly contracted COVID-19. She ended up passing the virus to several family members, including her husband David, a two-time cancer survivor.
“I couldn’t be with him. He was in that hospital by himself and I couldn’t be there to hold his hand,” Brown said.
Brown’s husband had to go on a ventilator after contracting the virus and died in July 2020. Losing the love of her life made her promise to change the lives of people in her community for the better.
“He took my heart with him. My heart beat, but it’s not the same,” Brown said of her husband’s passing. “I could not save my husband, but I want to save as many as I can now. Whatever it’s going to take.”
Living up to her vow today, Brown and her COVID Crusaders team go door to door registering people for vaccination, driving residents to their appointments in her own car and even recruiting a local pharmacy to partner up with her so she can administer vaccines.
While early polls indicated that Black Americans were less inclined to get vaccinated than other racial groups, by spring 2021 those polls showed a steep rise in the number of Black people who wanted to get the vaccine. Now, experts argue lack of access to vaccines and structural barriers are also hurting vaccination rates in these communities.
Brown told “The View” that there’s “still a lot of fear” in her community about getting vaccinated. When speaking with those who are hesitant, her “sales pitch” is, “You want to go to your grave early or you want to live?”
“We are doing our best to use data and true science to show them the importance of having the vaccine,” she added.
When it comes to combating hesitancy in the Black community, Brown said “seeing me, someone that looks like them” — who’s received a vaccine and can show them data on it — helps.
“The thing that we have to all keep in mind is that, yes, things happened in our past that would make some [a] skeptic, but at the same time we have too much new data to support the need to get vaccinated,” Brown said.
In honor of National Nurse’s Week, “The View” and Young’s Suncoast Realty and Vacation Rentals surprised Brown with a trip to her favorite place, the Gulf Shore of Alabama, so she and her COVID Crusaders team can unwind.
“We’re so appreciative between your day job as a hospice nurse, vaccinating your community, taking care of your older brother and your father,” co-host Sunny Hostin told Brown. “We wanted to make sure someone was taking care of you too.”
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