Jackie Gooden is not against the vaccine. Residents of La Mesa work at Scripps Health to assist in patient check-in and scheduling. She is religious about making sure her little son and daughter got all their shots.
But this time it feels different. Guden, Black and Latina, hopes to get a clear answer to some of the pressing questions about promoting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“What is the rush to get this out? And what is the rush to win the color community (involvement)?” Guden said. “It’s a big red flag.”
Judging by interviews and focus groups organized by the county, the University of California, San Diego, and the San Diego Refugee Community Union, Guden isn’t the only one to ask. Those conversations revealed that many people of color are concerned that science is contaminated by politics and is not clearly explained to them. Others are worried that their community may be used in clinical trials without guarantee that an approved vaccine will be available.
These concerns are shared by people of all races, but are even more important for minorities. The history of medicine is undermined by the examples of researchers who deny color life-saving therapies or use them to test dangerous procedures.
The distrust built up by its history could overturn efforts to defeat the pandemic that claimed the lives of more than 255,000 Americans, including 966 San Diegans.
After all, if people don’t take it, the vaccine won’t do anything.
Inequality and inequality
Conversations about why so many people are wary of drugs Tusquiggy researchFrom 1932 to 1972, the US government monitored hundreds of black men with syphilis without treatment.
Dozens of people have died. Many of them would have been cured with a few injections of penicillin.
The study is notorious, but it’s only part of a long and stupid history, says Dr. Rodney Hood, chairman and founder of the San Diego Multicultural Health Foundation.
“We’re tired of talking about it because it behaves like the only thing that happened to black people,” Hood said.
Its history includes Dr. J. Marion Sims, the father of modern gynecology. He operated on a enslaved woman without anesthesia.It also includes plight Henrietta Lacks, A black woman whose doctor used her cells for research without her knowledge. Collected in a 1951 biopsy, these cells will grow into one of the most widely used cell lines in science to develop vaccines against polio and human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. It is useful. The Lux family has never received any benefit from these or other discoveries.
Even today, black and Native American women More likely Die from childbirth more than any other group. Painful blacks and Hispanics Get medical treatment From a white patient. This is what many people — Even medical students — I think black people are less likely to feel pain than white people. This is what Sims believed nearly two centuries ago.
“They don’t take care of us in terms of our health care,” said George McKinney, senior pastor of the Impact Global Ministry at Valencia Park. “When there is pain or discomfort, we are not taken seriously. It is documented. Therefore, these things lead to distrust in the medical community and government.”
Racial and ethnic disparities are also a factor in the COVID-19 pandemic.Hispanics and Latin Americans make up one-third of the county About 60 percent Of coronavirus cases. Black and Latino San Diegans are also three times more likely than white residents to live in areas with high unemployment and high COVID-19 cases.
That’s one of the reasons researchers conducting the COVID-19 vaccine trial considered registering San Diego people living in these hit communities, and directed two vaccine trials at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Susan Little says.
“We want to make these studies available to populations that are traditionally undervalued in clinical trials,” says Little. “Especially in the color community, COVID rates are high, hospitalization rates are high, and in some cases mortality rates are high.”
However, the interest in the exam for minority registration was worried about Dr. Susanne Afralo, who spent 23 years as a family doctor at Kaiser Permanente.
In the meantime, she feels like she’s treated almost every black man in San Diego. But when an acquaintance asked if she would disseminate about UCSD’s upcoming COVID-19 trial, her first reaction was “Wow, time out.”
“Large organizations want to enter the African-American community, always accomplish something, collect data, go back and use the data to get more grants and federal funding. The community has never benefited from it, “said Afraro.
“I can’t sign it up with all my conscience. I’m here to really protect my community from people like you.”
The trial also received sharp criticism from community supporters. In September, the Chicano Federation said finding a vaccine test site in South Bay was yet another attempt to use colored races to test unproven medical care.
And at a recent press conference, Shane Harris, founder of the Popular Alliance for Justice, will give counties and vaccine developers a racial and ethnic breakdown of San Diego enrolled in the COVID-19 vaccine trial. I requested. Harris also called on the county to give the public a chance to comment on the ongoing vaccine trials at the courthouse.
“What I wanted to see was a little more of a collaborative approach with the community, not” take this vaccine, try a test and tell you what will happen, “Harris said. It was. “More than ever, our healthcare professionals need to address racial history and systematic prejudices.”
Nick Macchione, director of the county health and welfare department, is ready to join Harris in a virtual town hall to explain to Union Tribune how the county will test and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. He said there was.
Shots to build trust
If Joseph Stramond, a bioethicist at San Diego State University, is looking for a quick solution to regaining confidence in medicine and government among people of color, think again.
“What we need is to make a big difference in how governments and large corporations value the lives of people at their limits,” says Stramond. “Then I don’t know if there is an easy way.”
It doesn’t happen overnight. However, civil servants and researchers are taking small, immediate steps to increase confidence in how the COVID-19 vaccine is being developed.
National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis recently took one of these steps when he rolled up his sleeves and took a shot as part of a local COVID-19 vaccine test.
Sotelo-Solis is part of a National City study testing a vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson. Originally from National City, as a third generation of Latina, she wants to set an example and show the community that she believes in science.
“My words mean something. My work means something for me and the community. They trust me. And I don’t want to violate it.” Said Sotero Solis in tears. “I want the community to be vaccinated when the opportunity comes and I get the vaccine.”
Dr. Robert Gillespie, who joined the county’s COVID-19 Equity Task Force with fellow black doctors Afraro and Hood, is also participating in the vaccine trial for similar reasons.
However, Harris is skeptical of counties that rely on colored races as advocates of the COVID-19 vaccine, arguing that direct community engagement is key.
“What they don’t realize is that they can get black and Latin doctors into the color community, but that doesn’t mean they trust them to get vaccinated,” he said. Told.
Harris said he was ready to sue or protest against vaccine developers who refused to provide a breakdown of the race and ethnicity of the San Diegans enrolled in the trial.
“Our community deserves this information,” he said. “Our community gets this information.”
Union Tribune has contacted the county regarding Harris’ data request.
“We don’t manage clinical trials,” said Dr. Wilma Uten, a county public health officer. “It’s not the data we would have.”
UT recently contacted a local trial site to obtain a racial and ethnic breakdown of San Diegans participating in Moderna’s vaccine research. Biotechnology companies reported on Monday that the vaccine was nearly 95 percent effective in preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19, based on early results from ongoing research.
Of the approximately 1,200 San Diegans enrolled in the survey, approximately 59 percent are white. 26 percent Hispanic or Latin American. 7 percent Asian; 3 percent black; 3 percent multi-ethnic; and 1.4 percent Native American or Pacific Islands descent.
By comparison, the county is 45 percent white. 33 percent Hispanic or Latin American. 13% Asian; 5% Black; 3% Multi-Ethnic and 1% Native American or Pacific Islands.
UT also contacted Pfizer — recently reported that the vaccine was 95 percent effective — but the drug company did not provide local participant data.
Two other regional exams sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have not completed participant registration.
Little, who directs the UCSD trials for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, said her team regularly met with opinion leaders, small businesses, and community organizations to explain how to conduct the trials. This includes Afralo and other members of the COVID-19 Equity Task Force, as well as the San Diego Black Nurses Association.
She states that she has plans to do so, but admits that what is lacking is the opportunity for the general public to ask researchers directly about the exam.
Such open and clear communication between scientists and the communities influenced by their research is exactly what McKinney believes to reassure his congregation. He has his own view of this issue. In addition to being a minister, he is also the CEO of biotechnology company Better Life Technologies.
“Companies developing vaccines need to reach out to these communities,” he said. “As far as I know, this isn’t happening at all right now. It’s not happening at all. Someone came down and advertised,” Hey, I have this (vaccine). ” Everyone should take it side by side, as if I were Moses in the mountains.
“It won’t happen.”
Members of his church are not necessarily against vaccines, he says. They just want to know that the process is driven by evidence, not politics, that the vaccine’s content is being scrutinized, and that the vaccine helps people of color like everyone else.
That’s exactly what Gooden wants to know.
“I want to be able to look at my research and data and make decisions about whether my family will benefit from it,” Guden said. “I’m all for vaccination, but not for receiving something I don’t know about.”
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