Site Registration | Find a Copy | Event Calendar | Site Map
The Voice of the Black Community


Will the Black community get shut out on COVID-19 vaccination?
Distrust of US medicine raises concerns
Published Sunday, December 13, 2020 2:27 pm
by Stacy M. Brown | National Newspaper Publishers Association

The rocky historic relationship between African Americans and the United States medical community raises concerns as to whether the Black community will resist participating in COVID-19 vaccinations when they become available.

The first wave of coronavirus vaccines should reach the public this week, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that all adults receive the vaccination in 2021.

While the CDC said there should be enough doses for as many as 20 million people to receive vaccination by the end of December, health officials expect a much larger supply in the coming months.

Still, with a justified distrust of unproven vaccines, and a perceived limited participation by African Americans in clinical the trials that lead to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, many question whether African Americans will accept vaccination.

Others are also concerned that, even if the Black community generally accepts the vaccine, would doses be available.

“I’m guessing white folks will be first in line,” Monica Roderick, a Temple Hills, Maryland mother of four, opined.

“One of the reasons I shudder when I hear people talk about how Black people are still suspect because of the Tuskegee Experiment and other vaccines that ended wrong is because it tends to give other folks the greenlight to leave us out,” Roderick said.

She continued:

“This virus is the worst thing the world has seen in 100 years. It’s too important not to consider the vaccine, especially since most people affected by the coronavirus are Black and brown.”

Putting whether the Black community can trust the vaccine aside, the next controversy on the immediate horizon is whether African Americans will have access.

The initial supply certainly will overwhelm demand, CDC officials said. The federal government plans to distribute the vaccine in phases.

Health care workers and patients in long-term health care facilities are first in line.

According to guidelines, senior citizens and those with high-risk comorbidities and essential workers are next.

After that, state and local government officials will determine who next receives a vaccination.

So far, most states have yet to develop a concrete plan.

The outline reportedly provided suggested no explicit details about reaching marginalized populations like the Black community who have suffered the most.

“I’m looking at social media, and I’m seeing [former President] Barack Obama saying he’ll take the vaccine on television, and I’m shaking my head,” said Tonia Everhart, a Northeast, Washington, D.C., nurse. “First, understand that Obama isn’t necessarily the most trusted voice in the Black community, and he’s not a doctor.

“While I understand what he’s trying to do to encourage participation and eliminate fear, our community needs Black medical professionals, trusted voices, to say it’s OK to take the vaccine and then we need to be assured that we are not going to be left behind when the vaccine becomes available,” Everhart demanded.

Health officials agreed.

“You need that deep community engagement to strategize and inform what needs to be done, community by community,” Eric Toner, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who was the lead author for Johns Hopkins’ Covid-19 vaccine allocation framework, told NBC News.

That means engagement of local leaders, from pastors to principals, to reach hesitant individuals, he said, adding that such strategies are particularly key to reaching historically marginalized and disenfranchised communities.

“That is a public health priority not only for ethical and moral reasons but because that’s where a lot of the transmission of the disease is happening,” Toner added.

“It’s absolutely true that we can’t reach them solely through public messaging,” Toner continued.

“States need to be working now to create the relationships in those communities with trusted leaders to encourage people to seriously think about getting vaccinated.”


Leave a Comment

Send this page to a friend

Upcoming Events

read all

Is starting a business right for you?

Is Starting a Business Right for You? SCORE


Identifying your prospective customers and keeping them

This LIVE Stream is part 3 of 4 in the Marketing



Join us Friday night on the patio for live music

Latest News

read all

More rainy nights in formerly red Georgia for the Republican Party

Engaged coalition turned Peach State blue

'No place to hide' for Panthers or general manager Scott Fitterer

Aggressive approach to roster-building is goal

After unexpected extended break, the Hornets get back to full speed

Practices focused on improving defensively