The nation’s top infectious disease expert addressed concerns among Black and Brown communities that COVID-19 vaccines will cause more harm than good.
Speaking at a “Facts and Faiths Fridays” weekly virtual event hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center, Dr. Anthony Fauci said people of color face a “double whammy” of increased risk without the protection the vaccine provides.
“We want you all to get vaccinated,” Fauci told participants who included Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, other medical experts and faith leaders.
During a slideshow presentation, Fauci pointed to data that shows Black and Brown people are at higher risk of coming down with the virus because of “the binary nature” of disparities that include “increased incidence” and a predisposition to severe disease.
Fauci noted more specifics that put those communities at risk, such as occupations that cannot be performed at home and living conditions that can lead to greater spread.
“It often puts them in a position to have to interact outside in the community in a person-to-person way, which leads to the spread,” he said.
Fauci also tackled the deep mistrust that community members have with the government concerning “unfair and unethical” medical treatment in the past.
“That’s the past, a shameful past, that we have to live with, but we have safeguards in place that will never let that happen again,” Fauci said.
Fauci added to reassurances by saying the vaccination research and approval process is “both independent and transparent” conducted by “career scientists, not politicians” with the National Institutes of Health’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board.
As far as achieving overall “good herd immunity” with continued vaccinations, Fauci said the country would need “75 to 80%” of the population inoculated which would “completely crush” the virus “likely by the end of the year.”
But, Fauci says, “that’s a big ‘if.’”
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