Two HBCU Presidents Urge Black and Brown People to Participate in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials
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Two HBCU Presidents Urge Black and Brown People to Participate in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

Coronavirus vaccine trials are underway and the presidents of two prominent HBCUs are urging you to participate.

In a letter published in The Advocate, the presidents of Dillard and Xavier University — are already participating in the Ochsner Health System’s current vaccine trial. During the study, they have each been injected with the experimental vaccine and are “monitoring and reporting any symptoms and side effects.” Currently, they are both well.

Given the devastation of COVID-19 on the Black community, Kimbrough and Verret urge students, faculty, staff, and other HBCU institutions to volunteer in one of the many trials in order for the vaccines to be understood among a diverse group. In short, they want the medicine to work for Black people just as well as it will for others.

“Today, there are many regulations in place to assure the ethical execution of medical studies, including oversight by human subjects research committees with diverse membership and participation of clinicians of color,” the statement adds in order to quell fears generated by the Tuskegee experiments. “As presidents of HBCUs, we do recall unethical examples of medical research. We remember the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which misused and caused harm to African Americans and other people of color, undermining trust in health providers and caretakers.”

The New York Times reports that some COVID-19 vaccine trials — including Moderna — are in Phase 3 during which scientists give the vaccine to thousands of people and determine if the vaccine protects against the coronavirus.

“We have before us a significant opportunity to serve and advance the cause for not just ourselves,” they wrote, “but our sisters and brothers suffering from the effects of this virus on their families and communities.”