While skepticism threatens to stunt the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dusty Baker is urging one of the most at-risk communities in the country to have faith in the life-saving efforts.
The Houston Astros manager on Monday urged Black Americans to get vaccinated the same day Sandra Lindsay – a black nurse in New York – became the country’s first person to take the coronavirus vaccine outside of a clinical trial.
Baker applauded James Hildreth, a prominent immunologist and black man who sat on the FDA panel that voted in favor of the rollout of the Pfizer emergency vaccine last week.
“There was an African-American doctor in charge of the vaccine,” Baker told reporters on Monday during a video call. “I felt more comfortable that he and other African Americans were on the board to come up with the vaccine.”
And he guaranteed it wouldn’t be another Tuskegee experiment. And he urged black Americans to use the vaccine. “
What was the Tuskegee Experiment?
Vaccine skepticism exists in multiple communities as misinformation about unfounded health threats from vaccines has undermined their use.
That skepticism has added weight in some black communities thanks to the Tuskegee experiment, a notorious 40-year study that began in 1932 in which the U.S. public health service misguided black participants infected with syphilis about their health status. The study intentionally withheld proper treatment from the participants and eventually saw some die from the disease.
Baker joins black voices advocating for the COVID-19 vaccine
Baker’s assurance of the vaccine’s safety as one of two black MLB executives and a black community leader echoed Lindsay, who spoke to The New York Times about her decision to volunteer to become the first American. are who took the vaccine.
“That was the goal today,” Lindsay told the Times. “Not to be the first to take the vaccine, but to inspire people like me who are generally skeptical about taking vaccines.”
Black Americans are at higher risk for coronavirus dangers
While experts are expressing concern about the black community’s distrust of the COVID-19 vaccine, black Americans are more sensitive to the deadly consequences of the coronavirus than white Americans.
According to the CDC, black Americans are 1.4 times more likely to contract COVID-19, 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalized by the virus, and 2.8 times more likely to die from the disease than their white counterparts. Socioeconomic status, access to health care, and increased exposure to the coronavirus related to occupation play a role in the increased risk, according to the CDC.
Baker described that increased risk as motivation to speak on Monday.
“Because we’re most prone to not only catch it but die from it,” said Baker.
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