This Living Local segment is sponsored by Medical West Hospital.
BESSEMER, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – Dr. William Fonbah, MD, is a cardiologist with Medical West Hospital. He joined the team after completing medical school, internship, residency, and fellowship with UAB hospital.
Fonbah grew up in Cameroon, West Africa. This gives him a unique perspective on infectious diseases.
In Cameroon, malaria was very common. Fonbah described his relationship with malaria in a way that Americans might regard flu. The disease is so prevalent in that part of the world that he was sick with it multiple times as a child. He even saw some of his cousins die from Malaria.
“I think when someone grows up in a very privileged environment, it’s very different the way they interact with others and make vaccination decisions. I have that perspective,” Fonbah said. “I hear the argument that vaccine and mask mandates that away freedoms. However, one part of being free is that you want to be healthy. I think the best way for people to be free is by getting vaccinated and to do the things that will help prevent them from catching Covid or passing it to family members.”
As a Black man, Fonbah also commented on data that suggests Black Americans have a high level of vaccine hesitancy. He says medical distrust in the Black community goes back to the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, which ended in (recent history) 1972.
“I think those experiments are really engraved in the Black community. No one can take away history. However, I do think we (Black Americans) are better than we have been in the past on that particular aspect,” said Fonbah.
Personally, Dr. Fonbahm says he was relieved to take the vaccine as he knows prevention is better than cure.
“When you experience people being under vent, people dying, people having no loved ones around them, it really touches you,” Fonbah said. “I have seen what Covid can do, and I didn’t want to be in that environment. And the only way not to be part of that is to get vaccinated.”
Dr. Fonba says he has convinced many of his patients to get vaccinated just by showing them the current data.
“I’ve lost more than 10 patients to Covid. But I have not lost one from a vaccination,” said Fonbah,