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Within the Black and Hispanic communities, there is a growing concern surrounding the coronavirus vaccine. There is information out there that states that it takes 10 years to conduct clinical trials and develop a vaccine properly.
With most Blacks and Hispanics having this concern, it would be safe to say that clinical trial intake would have a deficient concentration of these ethnic groups.
Namandjé Bumpus, pharmacology and molecular science department director at Johns Hopkins University, stated the two vaccines’ clinical trials are underrepresented in both by Blacks. Data from both companies developing the vaccines also show that Hispanics and Asians are underrepresented in one of the trials. Bumpus continues by stressing the importance of having diversity in clinical trials. He says:
Drugs can affect people differently, based upon their race or ethnicity, and those genetic differences can mean a drug that works for you doesn’t work for me at the same dose, or can be more likely to be harmful. A lot of that is related to the way we process drugs and clear drugs. There is a lot of genetic variation.
Vaccine Clinical Trials
BioNTech and Pfizer have stated that in the U.S., Black represented only ten percent of the participants of the clinical trials while Hispanics represented 13-percent. In Moderna’s clinical trials, Black again represented only ten-percent as Latinos represented 20-percent.
Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo said that the company placed research sites in Black and Latino communities to increase participation from these groups. They also targeted social media sites with the hope of recruiting more Black and Hispanics to the trials.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Blacks and Hispanics are four times likely to be hospitalized with the coronavirus and three times likely to die from it. Their explanation for this is that Blacks and Latinos work in positions where they work closely with the public and are more likely to contract the virus.
The Kaiser Family Foundation released a survey in October 2020 that shows blacks distrust the health care system and feel biased against them more so than White people. Historical evidence of this distrust occurred from 1932 to 1972 when 600 Black men at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama were covertly infected with syphilis while telling them that they were receiving treatment.
Vaccines Can They Be Trusted?
With all of the trust issues that Blacks and Hispanics have with the health care system, how did BioNTech, and Pfizer get approval without having sufficient participation from these ethnic groups?
In many cities, Blacks and Hispanics hold the majority of the public service jobs. These employees — postal workers, transit workers, healthcare workers, etc. — are classified as essential workers who were all allowed to receive the vaccines first.
These essential workers taking the vaccines are still asked to wear masks and adhere to social distancing. If this vaccine is a cure for the coronavirus, why would the people who take the vaccine have to continue conducting themselves as if they could catch the virus or infect others?
Could it be that the U.S. Government, along with BioNTech, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, again have lied to the American people? Are they really conducting a clinical trial knowing that most essential workers would fill in the unrepresented gaps they were experiencing during their original clinical trials in 2020?
If this is the case, it is very understandable why some Black and Hispanic actors and entertainers are being paid to do PSAs promoting taking the vaccine. Perhaps in six months, after they have monitored the results of Black and Hispanic essential workers, they may be closer to a cure.
Opinion by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
ABC Action News: Stay very vigilant’: Doctor warns COVID vaccine is not a cure after contracting virus post-inoculation; by Gray Hall
Yahoo! Life: These 3 Groups Get More COVID Vaccine Side Effects, Says New Study; by Michael Martin
Newsday: Minority numbers up in clinical trials for the vaccine, but not enough, experts say; by David Olson
Clinical Trial Arena: Mixed results from recently completed Covid-19 clinical trials
CDC: Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines
Mayo Clinic: COVID-19 vaccines: Get the facts
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