Black people’s mistrust of the U.S. healthcare industry runs deep and requires little explanation. The Tuskegee experiments. Henrietta Lacks. Dr. J. Marion Sims are some examples and I do not think I have to further explain. Quite honestly, I, at times, have trust issues too, but taking the COVID-19 vaccine is not one of them.
Historically, I do not take the flu vaccine because a daily dose of Vit C provides me with immunity, and I never contracted the flu. However, I always honored my patients’ requests to take it, including those who were pregnant. I did not even take the flu vaccine with the H1N1 virus, nor did my children, and no, I am not an anti-vaccine. My children duly received all their mandatory immunizations, as did I as a physician. However, COVID is different. When I saw China erect a multi-story hospital in 72-hours and pictures of Chinese authorities physically removing people from their homes, I knew COVID was serious.
Blood clots, heart inflammation, loss of smell and taste, and people on dialysis are incredibly different from anything we have witnessed. This virus is DEADLY. I say this as a physician after practicing medicine for 30-plus years. Black, white, brown, young, and older adults have all felt the wrath of this disease that exhibits no mercy. The sister who helped develop the Moderna vaccine looks like me, and yes, I trust her.
So far, I initially had slight soreness in my shoulder that has dissipated. There might be more pain tomorrow. The injection did not hurt at all.
Getting this vaccine is an individual choice, and yes, I am aware of its controversy. As a board-certified ob-gyn physician, I know that messenger RNA cannot alter DNA but can nanoparticles monitor our vital signs and individual biochemistry? Who knows? However, if I am monitored for the rest of my life, so be it. At least I have a life. Over 300,000 Americans have lost theirs.
I want to be able to hug my college-aged sons without the fear of dying. I want to travel, regain my ability to earn an income. But most of all, I want to live. Yes, I do trust science, and I trust God even more.