LOS ANGELES - A few months before Montebello doctor Robert Drummond, MD, got his Moderna vaccine he got COVID19. But, besides the two shots in the arm, he’s gotten an earful from patients in the Black community fearing the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
He says they fear it isn’t as good as Pfizer or Moderna.
There’s also some bad vaccine history. During the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, African American men were unknowingly vaccinated with syphilis while being told they were being treated for more minor maladies like ulcers or arthritis.
But, Dr. Drummond says that history has patients telling him things that worry him.
He says patients tell him things like "I hear it can maybe withstand higher temperatures for longer, but it’s not as efficacious."
He says they feel like they’ll be on the receiving end of an inferior vaccine. And, that makes a lot of patients uncomfortable. And, according to Drummond, "it makes them feel like they’re getting an inferior vaccine and they don’t have any choice in the matter."
Patient Cynthia Edwards has that feeling.
She says, "I actually don’t want them all since all we’ve ever heard about vaccinations," Edwards said. "As an African-American woman... the Tuskegee Experiment... things like that just make me leery. It just makes me leery."
Trial date showed that that the vaccine was 66% effective globally at preventing moderate to several diseases; 72% effective in the US and 85% effective against severe disease after 28 days. But, after 42 days, Dr. Drummond says It prevented severe disease, hospitalization and death in over 92% of the patients.
This patient of Dr. Drummond, Nakasha Kirkland, has trepidations about Johnson & Johnson because of a different piece of history.
The Johnson & Johnson case involving baby powder and ovarian cancer. When you ask her if she would take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if that’s all they had at the vaccination site she went too, she says, "If my doctor says 'Take it.' I will trust my doctor."
Dr. Drummond has not only talked to patients about the importance of getting a vaccine, but he’s also put videos on Instagram spreading the same message.