Presidents Walter Kimbro of Dillard University and Reynold Veret of Javier University sent letters to their university communities earlier this month that they had decided to participate in a phase 3 trial of a vaccine developed by Pfizer.
“It is essential that a significant number of black and brown subjects be involved,” they write, “so that the effectiveness of these vaccines can be understood in the many different populations that include this United States.”
Health experts stressed the importance of the diverse set of volunteers in the Covid-1
“I just kept seeing all the articles that show we don’t have a good representation,” Kimbro told CNN. “People say you don’t know if it works for all populations if you don’t have a stable sample.”
But the answer is largely negative, he said, with some people comparing him to a “laboratory rat.”
“I think people are mostly skeptical,” he said.
In their letter, Kimbro and Verett acknowledge Taskigi and other “unethical examples of medical research” – cases that have undermined “trust in health care providers and caregivers” among African Americans.
In an interview with SiriusXM earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed that skepticism from minority communities must be met with transparency. He also cited Tuskegi as a major cause of mistrust.
“The experience so far of how government and medical experimenters have treated the African-American community is not something to be proud of,” he said.
“I fully understand fear”
One said Baker had “lost his mind.”
“For me, it was a great opportunity to be part of the decision,” she said. “So I really feel that what needs to happen is that before we start these vaccine studies, we need to make an effort with the minority community to explain and acknowledge that there is a problem and what’s going on there. . ”
Verret agreed that Tuskegee and “many other similar events” should be recognized. But there are “people like me around the table,” he said, asking questions and checking processes.
There is systemic racism in the United States, he told CNN’s Brian Kaylar.
“But at the same time, that shouldn’t stop us from making sure we have access to something that is necessary to save the lives of our people, especially given that African Americans and other people of color are dying and suffering from Covid- 19 with disproportionate prices, “Veret said.
Kimbro said some reaction stemmed from claims that their letter was a “mandate” when they only wanted their communities to “just think about it”.
“But it’s hard to tell someone to think about something you’re not ready to do on your own,” he said.
Kimbro had his first meeting with researchers on August 25. He had to complete an orientation explaining the process and each step. He also received a Covid-19 test using a nasal swab. He was then given an injection – but he does not know if he received the vaccine candidate or a placebo.
Otherwise, once a week, an application on Kimbrow’s phone asks him to fill out a survey detailing how he feels and whether he has any symptoms. He returned for a second injection this week and will have to return periodically.
But like Baker, Kimbro is happy to be playing his part.
“I’m just tired of all this,” he said of the pandemic. “I’m ready to go back to some sense of normalcy and the vaccine will be part of that.”