Some people still weary about COVID-19 vaccine, sociologists say there’s history behind concerns

Updated: Nov. 25, 2020 at 6:07 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Several companies have already released the results of their COVID-19 vaccine trials, but some people aren’t too keen on taking it once distributed.

In recent weeks companies like Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca have announced that their trials have produced anywhere from 70 to 95 percent efficacy, but for some people it’s still not enough.

Studies have shown that minorities, particularly the Black community, have been disproportionately affected by the virus. It’s those same communities who are also hesitant about taking the vaccine.

As a Black woman, Rashaan Peek shared her own apprehensions towards the vaccine.

“It’s kind of hard to trust them with prevention when their history has gone done just recently,” Peek said.

Peek shared that she’s asked other minorities if they were interested in getting the vaccine. She said it was a 50/50 response with half of the people saying they didn’t trust the medical field.

Deepika Dave, who is an Indian woman, said she’s open to getting the getting the vaccine, but is weary about the potential side effects.

“We don’t know how the vaccine will take its role affecting different races, different age groups, different people,” Dave said.

Dave said she typically doesn’t take medicine and approaches health and wellness from a natural stand point, but said if the vaccine is approved, she believes it’s everyone’s personal responsibility to get it and further protect themselves and others.

UNC Charlotte medical sociologist Dr. Zinobia Bennefield shared that those concerns in the Black community date back to historical examples of mistrust from earlier medical trials like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

“Black Americans have this very real cultural narrative of examples where the American medical establishment has really preyed on Black Americans,” Bennefield said.

Bennefield said this isn’t just an issue for ethnic communities, she said it’s an American one. She believes there can be a resolution to the mistrust once the medical field acknowledges its wrongdoing.

“America and the peoples of this nation are at a space that without the conversation, there is no true full forward movement,” Bennefield said.

Until those conversations are had, Peek said there needs to be a proactive approach to protect the most vulnerable populations.

“I want people to address the needs in other communities before it gets to where it’s a pandemic,” Peek said.

From here, the FDA had to approve the vaccine before it can be distributed. Some companies hope to start distribution next month.

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