By: Manny Otiko, IVN
Los Angeles, CA — Two frontline medical workers were featured speakers at a recent teleconference on Covid-19, the vaccine and the African-American community.
The conference, organized by VaccinateALL58, featured Dr. Gwen Allen, a Los Angeles-area OB/GYN, and Jada Parks Chatterjee, a registered nurse. They both talked about the importance of African-American women taking the coronavirus vaccine and some of the reasons why Black people are reluctant to get vaccinated.
Allen, who has practiced in the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years, said Black women needed to hear this message from other Black women because they are more likely to take in the information from someone who looks and sounds like them.
Allen also said that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, and that’s why it’s essential that pregnant women take the vaccination, so they are around for their children when they’re born. According to statistics provided by Allen, 12,000 pregnant women in the Los Angeles area tested positive for Covid-19. And 12 of those women have died. According to information from the Center for Disease Control, 161 pregnant women have died from the coronavirus.
Chatterjee said one reason that stops many people from getting the vaccination is fear of the unknown since it’s a new medication. She added that there is a lot of misinformation about the vaccination. According to Chatterjee, she said at one point, she had to stop taking in information from social media and relied only on medical journals for information about the vaccination.
She added that we have to rely on science to defeat the coronavirus. The coronavirus is much like Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS,) first identified in China in 2003. Knowing that we understand how to fight it. That is by keeping a clean environment, wearing masks, and socially isolating. Those tactics are still the best way to fight the disease.
Allen stated that one of the common reasons people refuse to take the vaccine is because they fear it might damage their child. However, she noted that the disease had been tested on women and there were no side effects.
“The vaccine is safe in all trimesters,” she said.
Allen acknowledged there was still a lot of reluctance and suspicion about the vaccine because of the after effects of the Tuskegee experiment. However, she also pointed out that the Tuskegee experiment happened many years ago. And things have changed a lot since then. She said that the word “Tuskegee” had become a scare tactic.
“Ninety percent of us don’t know what Tuskegee is,” she said.
She also said the vaccine is so widespread in the United States, it’s evident that it’s not just targeting African Americans.
“It’s in every CVS in the country,” she said.”They’re not targeting Black people.”
Allen also dispelled other coronavirus vaccine rumors. Some Black men have not taken the vaccine because they fear it might cause impotence or infertility. However, she said this is another myth. She said that if men have impotence, it’s not because of the coronavirus vaccine. She pointed out the many Black men are on blood pressure medication which can cause erectile problems.
Allen also said that marijuana use reduces the sperm count, not the coronavirus vaccine.