Huntsville leaders say Black community is hesitant to take coronavirus vaccine due to brutal past
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As trucks start to roll out across the country with Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, some people in the community said they are still nervous about taking the vaccine once it becomes available.

WAAY-31 spoke with some leaders in the Black community about what they're hearing and why some people may be hesitant.

The Alabama Department of Public Health said the vaccine is being delivered directly to hospitals here in Alabama.

In the Black community, we were told there are still some problems with getting them on board to taking the shots.

"I think the first thing we need to do is to be honest about how medical communities and healthcare has marginalized historically oppressed communities,"Dexter Strong said.

Reverend Dexter Strong believes this is the main reason Black and brown communities do not want to take the coronavirus vaccine right now.

Especially with one of the biggest concerns stemming from here in Alabama.

"The Tuskegee syphilis study stands out as the paradigm shift where people of color were treated in an inappropriate way when there was known therapy for syphilis," Dr. Selwyn Vickers said.

In Alabama, Black residents are still dying from COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate, which concerns many Black Alabamians.

While some are also concerned with how quickly the vaccine was developed, Dr. Selwyn Vickers with the UAB School of Medicine, says that was possible thanks to advancements in vaccine development.

"The timing to get this to people was quick, but it was not due to shortcuts," He said. "It was due to next generation molecular biology that allowed us, in a week after the virus was defined, the sequence of the virus was shared by the Chinese government and days after that, a vaccine model was put in the animals."

Both Strong and Angela Curry, a representative of United Women of Color, say there may be a way to get Black folks on board: that would be to make any and all information on the vaccine more readily available.

"There should be PSAs, there should be a full-fledge media campaign, but then also our administration, w just had a contentious election that we still hear about all day long and I think the focus needs to be shifted from that to the public health," Curry said.

Dr. Vickers said both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective for Black and brown communities and he assures that when they are widely available, they will be safe to take.

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