As the drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna seek emergency approval for their coronavirus vaccines, public health bodies and regulators are weighing how to distribute the vaccines and who will get access to them. The pandemic is disproportionately impacting African American, Latinx and Indigenous communities, exposing long-standing inequities and systemic racism in the U.S. healthcare system. These same communities are underrepresented in the clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, due in part to centuries of abusive treatment at the hands of medical researchers. We speak with Dr. Chris Pernell, a public health physician in Newark, New Jersey, who is participating in Moderna’s vaccine trial, in part as a way to honor her late father who died from COVID and to ensure African Americans are included in the studies. “Being a public health physician, I needed a way to be a part of the solution,” she says. “I knew it was important for Black and Brown persons to participate if we were ever to get at a truly effective solution.”
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This post was originally published on Radio Free.