Suddenly It’s All About the Black Woman and the Vaccine

Dear Editor:

I appreciated last week’s cover which clearly suggested that we use our personal discretion as to whether or not to take the COVID vaccine.  

Safety and efficacy concerns regarding   a COVID-19 vaccine is running high among African Americans. It’s no wonder that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert (who is highly respected) , wants Black people to know that a Black woman, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, was heavily involved in developing one of the vaccines (the one expected to soon  be released by Moderna). 

Then in New York State the first person to receive the Pfeizer vaccine was a Black women, Sandra Lindsay, RN, a critical care nurse in Long Island  being administered by a  Black medical  professional. That ionic photo is everywhere.

I’m not mad at the brilliant Dr. Corbett. In fact I first read about her  in The Challenger back in April!  And I respect the nurse   who took that historic first shot as well as the doctor who administered it. 

Overall  I’m glad to see some kind of movement in the wake of so many lives lost, especially in our community.

But personally I just feel there are still  too many unanswered questions  and I’m uncomfortable with the “speed” in which  the vaccines are being developed.

Even the esteemed Dr. Corbett who is working to save lives and  wants to see us all protected, told   CNN last week: “I would say to people who are vaccine-hesitant that you’ve earned the right to ask the questions that you have around these vaccines and this vaccine development process.”

And a CNN special last week revealed that the vote among 14 CDC vaccine  advisors was not unanimous. One   lone doctor said “no,”  in the vote to recommend the vaccine for long term care residents; expressing worry whether or not  vaccine would even work in   frail and elderly patients.

Will I take the vaccine? Time and proof of its safety and efficiency  will tell.

Meanwhile I’ll stay   “masked up,” keep my social distance, used common sense, and stay  “prayed up”  for my family and my community.

-M. Heard