The Times podcast: To COVID shame or not to COVID shame?

A woman holding a child gets vaccinated
Arely Rodriguez, accompanied by her 2-year-old daughter, gets vaccinated against COVID-19 at a clinic in Los Angeles’ Wilmington neighborhood on July 27.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Thanks to the Delta variant, the coronavirus is stronger than ever. Medical and government officials blame the rise largely on one group: the unvaccinated. So a debate that has persisted for months is now raging hotter: Does shaming persuade folks to finally get the shots?


Today, we talk about what’s being done to increase vaccinations among Black people and Latinos. The two groups have suffered inordinately from COVID-19 — yet they don’t have nearly the same shot rates as whites and other groups.

We talk to L.A. Times reporter Brittny Mejia, who recently attended a vaccination event in a working-class Latino neighborhood and talked to people about what finally convinced them to get the Fauci ouchie. And columnist Erika D. Smith talks with host Gustavo Arellano about whether shame can convince the vaccine-hesitant to get a shot. She says no. He really wants the answer to be yes.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Metro reporter Brittny Mejia and L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith

More reading:

Why haven’t you been vaccinated? With COVID-19 raging, people explain what took so long

Column: I wish I could be angry with the unvaccinated. Being Black makes that complicated

Column: Don’t be a ‘pandejo.’ Take the pandemic seriously


Listen to more episodes of The Times here

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producer Denise Guerra and editors Lauren Raab and Shani O. Hilton. Our intern is Ashlea Brown. Special thanks to Asal Ehsanipour and Heba Elorbany. Our engineer is Mario Diaz and our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.