- To protect, our loved ones, our friends, ourselves and our African American community from COVID-19 infection and death.
- As of January 13, 2021, there have been almost 23 million COVID-19 infections in the United States and 384,808 deaths due to COVID-19. The infection will never be controlled without a vaccine.
- COVID-19 infection is more dangerous and deadly for African Americans. We have 1.5 times the number of infections than White Americans, but we die at a rate that is 3 times that of White Americans and we have 4 times the number of hospitalizations than White Americans.
If we do not take the vaccine, African Americans will remain at the top of the list of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Other races and ethnicities will take the vaccine and be protected from the infection. If we do not take the vaccine, we will be left behind again, but this time unprotected from a deadly infection.
- The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and 95% effective. (First two vaccines available in the United States to date.) They will save countless lives and infections, just like the vaccines for measles, mumps and polio vaccines that are given to our children for school. In fact, this vaccine could become one that is required for school enrollment in the future.
- As of today, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are FDA-approved for emergency use. NOT TRUMP-approved!!! President Obama and Michelle Obama will take the vaccine publicly! We need other African American community leaders to be vaccinated and publicly display pictures and videos receiving COVID vaccinations to challenge and encourage others to do so.
- The same rigorous and difficult processes needed to approve all medications were followed in the development of COVID-19 vaccines. I have been through the stringent FDA process many times for drugs that fight other infectious diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans.
- We are not guinea pigs and are not being experimented upon. We are being given a life-saving vaccine and we cannot get COVID-19 infection from the vaccine. 73,611 people volunteered to go through the experimental phases for the Pfizer (43,611) and Moderna (30,000) vaccines to obtain FDA approval. (And thousands of volunteers are currently participating in trials of other vaccines seeking approval.)
- There were no short-cuts and the development of the vaccines was not rushed. I was concerned about this initially as well. Yes, it appears to have been rushed because they were developed in record time. But this was only possible because there were many research sites around the world and a huge number of volunteers enrolled at the same time. (Example: If a study needs 1,000 volunteers and there are two research sites, each site would need to enroll 500, and it would take years. But if there were 100 sites that needed to enroll the same 1,000 volunteers it would only take weeks.)
- We must never forget, but we must overcome previous research and medical mistrust due to mistreatment and no treatment of our family members and forefathers in the past. This vaccine will save our people and protect our legacy as a people. We have already lost too many of our precious souls and too much of our culture to COVID-19. We should honor the legacy of those we know personally and others who have died from COVID-19 by preventing more infection and death in the African American community through COVID-19 vaccination.
Stephanie N. Taylor, MD graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA, and is currently Professor of Medicine in the Section of Infectious Diseases at LSU Health Sciences Center. She is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Taylor’s area of expertise is sexually transmitted infections and she is currently medical director of both the LSU-CrescentCare Sexual Health Center and the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV Program. Dr. Taylor served as a site principal investigator for one of the NIH Remdesivir trials for treatment of patients with COVID-19 and for a COVID diagnostic test development project. In 2018, Dr. Taylor was also awarded a Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) for her work in the area of sexually transmitted infections.