Tuskegee professors to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in black community

Dispelling myths around the COVID-19 vaccine

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There is understandable hesitancy among communities of color when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccines.

It’s an important conversation to have and Tuskegee professor Dr. Lonnie Hannon says the best way to overcome fear, is with as much knowledge as possible.

Experiments on Black men at Tuskegee leave a haunting legacy, and a shadow of mistrust that still lingers in the black community almost 90 years later.

“What we have is many historical incidents where a scientific community has used African-Americans in an unethical way,” explained Hannon.

Today, the scars of the Tuskegee experiment cause reluctance among people of color to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The goal was essentially to use them as subjects, as guinea pigs, to see how the syphilis virus progressed,” said Hannon.

Dr. Hannon and his colleagues want to negate that comparison with information --- the information that the COVID-19 vaccine is not an experiment.

“A part of the healing process is providing an opportunity for minorities to be at the table,” he said.

For example, a black female scientist, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, led the team that created the Moderna vaccine.

“We also want to be at the table when we distribute information,” said Hannon.

Tomorrow, they will do just that. Details below:

What: VACCs FACTs: A citizen forum to address questions, concerns and the bioethics of vaccination

When: Friday, Feb. 19, 12-2 p.m. CST:

  • From 12-12:30 p.m., there will be an introduction and a performance by a local gospel singer
  • The actual discussion and Q&A will take place from 12:30-2 p.m. CST

Zoom link: bit.ly/vaccs-facts

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