“The COVID vaccine will cause infertility.” “It will change your DNA.” “I heard that there’s COVID in the vaccine and if you take it, you will get the virus.”
These are some of the the reasons why people are skeptical about getting the COVID vaccine. Especially within the Black community. Since the onset of COVID-19, Black people have seen higher numbers of cases and deaths. Causing them to surpass that of their Caucasian counterparts. Leading causes are due to underlying health conditions that plague the Black community. Which further amplifies the health disparities, and puts them at an increased risk.
Dr. Daria Terrell of St. Bernard Hospital, is educating South Side residents on the vaccine. Advising interested individuals to first speak with their physician. Then educate themselves on what is being offered. “We are aware of why there is hesitancy surrounding taking the vaccine in the Black community. But we should get the facts from credible sources, and not what we’ve seen and heard on social media”, she says.
Given the quick timeframe that both vaccines were developed, there has been reluctance. Dr. Terrell stated, “The standards in developing the vaccines lets us know they are as safe as we can make them. We do not have five and 10 years of data, because we have not been dealing with this for five and 10 years. But the safety measures that have been followed, received an emergency use authorization. And the makers of both vaccines had to prove a certain level of safety to be granted emergency use.”
There has been a great debate over which vaccine is better. Dr. Terrell feels that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are equal when it comes to efficacy. Saying that the key to receiving optimal results is by taking both required doses of each. “If you want to have that 95% chance of not catching the virus, it is best to get both doses. Pfizer advises getting the second dose within three weeks while Moderna is four,” she says. In Chicago, only 15% of Black people have received the vaccines. A zip code search shows that 9,000 vaccines in the Gold Coast and 12,000 in Lincoln Park have been administered. This in comparison to the 1,200 in Englewood.
Dr. Terrell feels that number is due to the segregation within the city. She said, “We have to think about the fence. Both Lincoln Park and Gold Coast are going to have a good majority of their community vaccinated. But Black people are going to stay within their communities. We do not tend to cross barriers as much because we are so segregated. That means we are staying in areas where there are fewer people getting vaccinated. Which means more potential for contracting the virus. And due to the newer variants, they may be easier to spread. So we should think about how we’re going to exercise our power in our communities.”
Contributing Writer, Racquel Coral is a national lifestyle writer and journalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Find her on social media @withloveracquel.