ORLANDO, Fla. — Public health research compiled by the CDC shows COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Black communities, leading to more cases and deaths per capita.
The vaccine could be key in turning things around, but polls show many Black people won’t take it. For the time being, people like Katrina Shazier say they will wait before getting the coronavirus vaccine.
“I just want to see where it's going to go and how it is going to play out," Shazier said.
Shazier isn’t alone. A recent Axios-Ipsos poll shows 28% of Black Americans are willing to get the vaccine, compared to 51% of whites and 56% of Hispanics.
Earlier this year, the coronavirus took direct aim at Katrina Shazier and her loved ones.
“I had it, my father, my husband, my brother, and my mother,” Shazier said.
Shazier fully recovered, but her visits with mom will never be the same.
“We miss you, girl,” Shazier said.
Her mother Carrie Lee Allen, died in June from the Coronavirus. Her father, in the hospital at the time, is still coping with losing the love of his life.
“One day at a time, it’s rough man,” Mr. Allen said.
Because of her family’s loss, Shazier is hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, fearful of side effects, although trials show most side effects only last a few days.
“No other race in America is more leery of medications than African-Americans,” said Pastor Derrick McRae with Experience Christian Center.
McRae points to the 1930s Tuskegee Syphilis experiment, where Black men were recruited to take part in a study where doctors allowed the diseases to progress without treatment.
“I too was a little skeptical at first about this process, but to see that it’s going through medical professionals first, and they are doing some studies, getting beyond myths and really getting into some real facts about this entire process, has really given me a confidence to go forward,” McRae said.
McRae believes he and other pastors are in a position to save lives, by instilling confidence.
“I believe what it would take for the African-American community to embrace it is we have to have testimonies, we have to have people within in our race that have gone through it," McRae said.
For now, Shazier will wait to see how the vaccine impacts others, remembering the good times and praying for the future.
The FDA says common side effects reported with the Pfizer vaccine include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint paint and fever.