Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Meharry Medical College President/CEO

By Dr. James E.K. Hildreth
President/CEO of Meharry Medical College

Nashville, TN (Tennesse Tribune) – It is no mystery why Black Americans are leery of the White American medical establishment. We have too often been abused and misused by it to believe that we won’t be again.

But I want to reassure you that when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, we do not have to fear.

I am speaking to you from inside the corridors of where decisions are being made on behalf of American healthcare. In fact, I currently sit on the FDA’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which is comprised of medical experts from diverse backgrounds who are reviewing and recommending these vaccines for all our communities.

And I can assure you that the entire scientific process that surrounds the vaccine studies are safe, and that the vaccines developed from the trials are safe. I know the myths and rumors flying around are meant to discourage people from protecting their health. Please do not believe them. Please read the correct information below – and share with your family, friends and neighbors.

And please – until you are vaccinated – continue to mask-up and keep your distance. Let us all make it through this together!

· Myth-Buster #1: COVID-19 vaccines do NOT contain live virus and will NOT give you COVID.

You might not feel great after you get vaccinated, but that is because your body’s immune system will initially think the vaccine is an invader and will attack it. This is how your body will develop the antibodies it needs to protect itself from COVID. It’s common for people to have minor, short-lived symptoms like fever and chills after getting a vaccine. But don’t worry. This will not mean that you have the virus.

· Myth-Buster #2: COVID-19 vaccines do NOT contain a microchip for government tracking.

The internet provides a lot of good information about your health, but it can also spread a lot of misinformation. One rumor is that COVID vaccines will microchip people so they can be tracked through 5G cell phone towers. This is 100 percent false. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain a tracking device. Their only purpose is to keep people from getting COVID and to protect them.

· Myth-Buster #3: COVID-19 vaccines will NOT cause other diseases or disorders.

Vaccines are only used to protect and save populations from sickness and death. Thanks to vaccinations, the United States has nearly eliminated once common and deadly diseases like measles and polio. There is no connection between vaccinations and the spread of other diseases or disorders.

· Myth-Buster #4: Your natural immunity will NOT protect you better than vaccine-induced immunity.

Vaccines give you the protection you need to build immunity to the virus without making you suffer or risk your life in the process. Some people have gotten COVID-19 without feeling too sick or having any symptoms at all. But too many – especially in the Black community – have suffered terribly or have died. The vaccine will prevent this.

· Myth-Buster #5: COVID-19 vaccine developers did NOT cut corners to develop these vaccines.

Yes, the vaccines were developed quickly – but they were also developed safely. Scientists and manufacturers were extremely careful and methodical. Researchers have made so much progress in recent years on vaccine development that the biggest issue scientists faced was finding enough trial participants. They worked very hard to recruit participants from all backgrounds quickly for all the trial phases. We owe a lot to these citizens who agreed to help. And the data is showing that these vaccines are highly effective.