Dr. Eugenia South, a black doctor, was skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine once it was ready for administration to front line workers. Like so many others who look like her, she didn’t trust the vaccine at first.
(If you need to refer to the complicated history of African Americans and health care, read more about the Tuskegee Study from CDC.gov.)
After educating herself on the process of how the vaccine was developed, Dr. South changed her mind. Her concern was that the vaccine was rushed and might be used as a tool for political gain under the presidential administration at that time.
After learning that the vaccine underwent rigorous clinical trials, was worked on by thousands of scientists, and granted approval by both the FDA and the CDC, Dr. South changed her stance and on Dec 17th, 2020 received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Let’s normalize hesitancy to take a new vaccine. Shaming people who have questions will not encourage uptake. Skepticism is especially salient for Black people, for whom centuries of mistreatment and harm from systems meant to serve and protect have engendered mistrust.”
What is interesting is that even though Dr. South was hesitant, at the end of the day, it takes action and empowerment to create change within communities. If medical professionals within the African-American population do not trust new policies and medications themselves, how can we expect our communities to follow? Her decision to receive the vaccine is one step to showcasing representation and a step toward repairing centuries of structural racism that contributes to medical mistrust.
Read the full article here.
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