Actor Edgar Ramírez (Jungle Cruise) has a message for everyone who still isn’t taking the pandemic seriously: Don’t make a decision that is going to put your life or someone else’s life at risk and get vaccinated.
Ramírez shared the pain he has experienced this year after losing his grandmother, two aunts, an uncle, and a friend to COVID-19. None of them, he wrote, were vaccinated. Some, like his Aunt Lucy, died in agony.
“I am sad, I am frustrated, I am devastated,” Ramírez wrote. “It’s been weeks and weeks of my family being played, tortured and jerked around by this cruel, treacherous and violent disease, which mercilessly ended up killing them all.”
All the loved ones Ramírez lost lived in Venezuela. He said they didn’t have access to the vaccine like Americans do and that it breaks his heart knowing “that so many people in [the United States] are willing to snub the very vaccine my family would have taken in an instant.”
In the U.S., 52 percent of Latinos say they have a family member or close friend who was hospitalized or died from COVID-19, this according to the Pew Research Center. The Center for American Progress says Latinos are 1.7 times more likely to die from the virus.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, Uruguay comes in at No. 1 as the country with the best vaccination rate. Venezuela sits way below that at No. 22. “The region is still short of the doses needed to turn the tide of the pandemic,” says Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). “We need a significant influx of vaccines and a more equitable process for distributing them.”
Ramírez adds that he hopes that anyone who can get vaccinated does it today. “To get a vaccine is an act of compassion,” he wrote. “I encourage you all to follow science and truthful information, and please, please, please…if you can, get vaccinated, so you can help save those around you.”