Trump’s COVID Vaccine Chief Addresses Minorities Skepticism

"Covid-19 vaccine with stethoscope and syringe on white background" (CC BY 2.0) by Marco Verch Professional Photographer

A recent poll has shown that Black Americans are skeptical about being having the coronavirus vaccine.

Last Thursday, a survey by Pew Research had shown that Black Americans continued to be less willing to accept the COVID-19 vaccine compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

The survey has shown that only 42% of Black Americans are inclined to accept the coronavirus vaccine. This number is relatively lower compared to 61% for White Adults and 63% Hispanic. Meanwhile, out of all the racial and ethnic groups, Asian Americans are the ones who are most willing to have the COVID-19 vaccine, with over 83% agreeing to it.

Last Sunday, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Trump’s COVID-19 Vaccine Chief, addressed the skepticism surrounding the vaccine. The researcher and former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines said, “Nobody’s being used as a guinea pig.”

In an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN, Tapper mentioned the survey and then afterward played video footage of Carmen Bailey, a 52-year-old woman from Cleveland, Ohio.

In the footage, the woman said, “To me, it’s too early. We don’t know any kind of side effects from them. So, I just really feel like, at this point, we’re — people that are going to take that vaccine is guinea pigs.”

In connection with this, Tapper then told Dr. Slaoui, “now, this doesn’t — this kind of skepticism doesn’t occur in a vacuum.” He also alleged that the country has an “ugly racist history” when it comes to science, medicine, and Black Americans. Afterward, the news anchor asked the COVID-19 Vaccine Chief how Operation Warp Speed plans to address this skepticism in this minority group, particularly to the black community.

“White House Coronavirus Update Briefing” (public domain) by The White House

Dr. Slaoui answered this by saying that it is a very important and saddening situation that has been worrying them all the time. The doctor then continued and said, “And we work very, very hard with the [National Institutes of Health] leadership, with the surgeon general, with all the leaders that we could to engage the minority population, in particular, the African-Americans and the Latinx, to participate into the clinical trial, to understand the importance of participating through the trials because that will be very important to helping us convey to the minority population the safety and the efficacy of these vaccines.”

The COVID vaccine chief said, “Nobody is being used as a guinea pig.” He continued by saying that unfortunately, the coronavirus is impacting the African-Americans and the Hispanics two and four times more than
Caucasians and aim to stop that.

Dr. Slaoui also noted that it is important for people to take time to and listen to facts. He emphasized that it is essential that people listen to those who are experts in this field. The doctor then begged the public and said, “Please don’t make your opinion outside of having listened to the data and to experts you trust.”

As of the moment, there is three vaccines in the works. One of them is from Biotech firm called Moderna. Moderna vaccine was produced together with President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.

Last November 30, they moved and won the emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine. According to their data, Moderna said that their vaccine is 94.25% effective and is already in its late-stage. Also, this vaccine is easier to store and does not need to be in sub-zero storage.

The second player is Pfizer. Their data stated that the effectiveness rate of the vaccine is 95%. Although this vaccine has a higher efficacy rate than Moderna, its downside is it has to be stored in sub-zero storage of -94 degrees.

Then a third vaccine is also in the pipelines, the one produced by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine was said to have a proven effectiveness rate of 90%.