NAACP Holds Town Hall on Vaccine Safety

“Just as the mistrust has been earned, we can certainly go in and earn trust,” said one of the speakers on the panel

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The Pfizer vaccine is here, and others are coming down the pipeline, but there’s been a lot of mistrust among people of color, especially in the Black community, when it comes to taking the vaccine.

Because of this, some groups are trying to get the word out that the vaccine is safe.

On Wednesday, the NAACP held a virtual COVID-19 town hall with an all-Black panel with information directed to people of color.

“It became clear that if we were going to be able to sit on panels like this and tell people of color that the vaccine is safe and effective for them, that we needed to increase representation of people pf color,” said Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a key scientist behind the development of the Moderna vaccine.

Corbett said it’s important that the community knows she is a Black woman who is at the forefront of developing the drug.

Out of 30,000 people participating in Moderna’s Phase Three clinical trial, 11,000 are from communities of color, and 3,000 are people who identify as Black or African-American.

Behind Black community mistrust is the legacy of the Tuskegee study of untreated syphilis involving Black men in the 1930s. They were not properly treated or informed about the study.

“Just as the mistrust has been earned, we can certainly go in and earn trust,” said one of the speakers on the panel.

One way of doing that, according to doctors, is by example.

“I’m hopeful the visual of people like me getting the vaccine can provide some reassurance to folks,” said Dr. Tomas Diaz.

People who spoke to NBC Bay Area had mixed reactions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I believe it’s real, and I believe it’s killing people, but I don’t believe I should take the vaccine,” one person said.

“I can understand the hesitancy,” said another. “But I’ve been following it the last couple months, and I trust it. I do.”

The general public may be able to make the choice by Spring.

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