LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — There was enough distrust and misinformation to dissuade anyone from taking the coronavirus vaccine once it was ready. For several months, polls have shown a divide along political party lines on whether the virus was real or if the medicine itself was ready for consumption.
There is a deep-seeded skepticism among African-Americans when it comes to indoctrinations. I remember my grandparents, who grew up in the Tuscaloosa area, talking about the Tuskegee experiment. In the 1930s, the U.S. Public Health Service enrolled 600 African-American men from rural Alabama in the study and infected two-thirds of them with syphilis without their knowledge. They were not provided any health care as researchers studied the progression of the disease. Some of the men died; other went blind, insane, or suffered other severe health problems. Nearly a century later, the psychological effect – and the distrust of free injections or government-provided health care – still weighs on this community.
When I arrived at LEX 18 in early December, I spoke with station management about getting my vaccination on camera. I’d lost too many friends and family members to COVID-19 and I’ve missed spending time with older relatives. Everyone agreed it would be a good idea. I didn’t want to jump ahead in line, so I waited until my group was called: members of the media.
My experience at Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington could not have been more positive. The volunteers were informed and helpful. The check-in system was thorough and orderly. And the professional who administered my shot had a sunny “tableside” manor about him.
Most importantly, our LEX 18 photographer Ian Teasley did a fantastic job completing the project and making sure our initial objective was met: allowing skeptics to see the process and see me getting vaccinated. Hopefully that will convince others to follow suit.
Last fall, my family and I got flu shots for the first time. We never had any illusions that it would prevent us from contracting COVID-19, but we viewed it as just another preventative booster. Fortunately, none of us have ever tested positive and, in the next thirty days, all of us will have been vaccinated.
Some of you may read this and watch our story and still be a skeptic. All I ask is this: think it over.