From Hurdle Mills, N.C., Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is the Research Fellow and Scientific Lead at the NIH, National Institute of Health. Dr. Corbett has a BS from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2014, she began her research fellowship at the NIH on the respiratory virus (coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus) pathogenesis and vaccine design and presently working on the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Wednesday, December 16th, the NAACP held a Virtual Town Hall Meeting featuring Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett. While some viewers praised her work, others questioned the vaccine trial's effectiveness and safety in the African American community.
"African Americans make up only 4% of the vaccine trials." ~ Dr. Corbett
The trials require:
Each participant to receive two doses of the vaccine 21 days apart from each other
Follow-ups for the next 24 months
Maintenance of an electronic diary
Quarterly blood samples
Some of the questions raised were, "Is it [vaccine] affordable?" "Will it [vaccine] be distributed to the areas most affected in the United States?" Who should not take it [vaccine]?" Most of the panelist danced around the questions, but Dr. Kizzmekia was very clear on one thing;
"Right now, the recommendation, at least in the UK, is that you should not get the vaccine if you have severe allergies." ~ Dr. Corbett
Many African Americans are apprehensive about entering the trials and reluctant to get the vaccine once available to the public. Some even fear a repeat of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which lasted 40 years and involved 600 African American male participants, who did not give their informed consent. The study did not disclose the participants' disease/disorder nor proper treatment thereof. The biggest challenge of the COVID-19 vaccine may be winning the trust of the African American community.
"It is at no fault of yours that you do not trust a system that has done you and your ancestors wrong for hundreds of years." ~ Dr. Corbett
Do you trust the COVID-19 vaccine? Why or why not? Will you get the vaccine?