US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said Monday he is worried about vaccine skepticism among minority communities, but is working to help overcome it.
“Nothing has been in my heart more than this issue over the past several weeks to months,” Adams told CNN. “I’ve been working with Pfizer, with Moderna, with AstraZeneca, with Johnson & Johnson to make sure we have appropriate numbers of minorities enrolled in these vaccine trials so that people can understand that they are safe.”
Adams said he’s working with leaders in the minority community, including faith leaders and fraternities and sororities.
“There are tens of thousands of Black and brown people dying every year because they are distrustful of the system, in many cases rightly so, but also because they’re not getting the facts to help restore their trust in the system,” he said.
Adams said he’s heartened to see the numbers increasing among Americans who say they’ll get the vaccine when it becomes available. That figure is close to 80% today, a sharp rise from just 30% four weeks ago.
History behind mistrust: Adams emphasized that there are now independent review boards and regulations to protect against incidents like the Tuskegee experiment.
Between 1932 and 1972, Black men in the Tuskegee syphilis study were deliberately left untreated so doctors could study the “natural course” of the disease, which can damage the organs as it progresses, including the brain, other nerves, eyes and heart.