According to the New England Journal of Medicine, Black people account for only 3% of participants in current vaccine trials for COVID-19, despite accounting for 21% of deaths reported across the country. As debate about the vaccine continues among skeptics, this has left many within the medical community worried about what this would mean for the Black community.
Recently, the president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), Ernest Grant, Ph.D., RN, FAAN announced that he will be participating in new trials for the COVID-19 vaccine in efforts to combat doubt around vaccines for Black patients in the future. Grant says the opportunity gives him the chance to help nurses and practitioners across the country who are on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“It afforded me the opportunity to stand in solidarity with nurses on the frontline, battling the COVID-19 pandemic all across the U.S. Secondly, I recognized the urgent need for Black Americans to participate in vaccine clinical trials,” said Grant to BLACK ENTERPRISE through email.
“I thought it was imperative to serve as a role model to not only nurses who need to be involved and included in COVID-19 vaccine development, but also for Black people who have been historically underrepresented when it comes to vaccine testing. As a result, it was especially important for me to be that representation, given the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 in our Black communities.”
Grant says it is important for those who have their reservations to trust accredited medical researchers who have been working around the clock to develop a vaccine to stop the spread of the virus. “Developing safe and effective vaccines requires research, expertise, and vast resources, guidelines, ethical codes, safety standards, review boards, and more are required and must be followed,” says Grant.
“The nation’s best and brightest experts and researchers in the scientific and medical fields are diligently working to develop COVID-19 vaccines. There is also a lot of collaboration among scientific communities and teams globally, offering even more insights, knowledge, and credibility.”
Grant went on to say that that it is important for Black nurses across the nation to facilitate conversations with their patients about their uncertainties surrounding vaccination and provide relevant information “I urge Black nurses to connect with their patients, families, friends, and other trusted voices within their community to help dispel myths and uncertainties and disseminate culturally relevant information,” said Grant.
“This can help demonstrate trust in the development of vaccines and role model preventative behaviors to stem the spread of COVID-19.”