As counties across Texas prepare for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, the community is divided on whether to take it. Already, people have made up their minds one way or the other and many say they'll be difficult to convince otherwise.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has a plan for distribution, and hospitals are on standby. But inside homes across North Texas, the discussion continues.
Michael Gipson of Dallas County said he’s had very limited contact with his mother who has been on dialysis for years. So, when the time comes to take the vaccine, he plans to do it.
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“I did as much research as I could on basically how vaccines work,” he said. “I personally know people that have passed from complications of COVID-19. Also, my mother has underlying health conditions, so I want to take it not only to protect myself but to protect those that I love.”
He said his fear of spreading the virus far outweighs any fear of the vaccine. Still, he understands the hesitation for some.
“Some of the complications from taking the vaccine are not known. However, complications from contracting COVID-19 are not known as well,” said Gipson.
However, it is the unknown that has Keaira English worried. As of now, she’s not convinced she should take the vaccine.
“I just feel like we need a little bit more time,” she said. “I do think it’s been rushed. And the side effects are really what’s my major concern.”
English said she’d like to see more research before she says yes. She also cites a history of well-documented dishonesty and mistreatment of Black communities when it comes to medical research.
Communities of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Despite that fact, many people in Black communities are skeptical of a vaccine. On Tuesday, Doctor Anthony Fauci joined Black doctors, health equity advocates and leaders at Howard University for a discussion on how to quell those fears.
A Pew Research report shows 60% of Americans say they would probably or definitely get a vaccine. Among Black Americans, the study showed 42% said they would get the vaccine.
“Being a woman of color, I would love to be that voice for those people and just say ‘hey I took it, everything is completely fine, I think you should take it too.’ But again, that trust has to be instilled,” she said. “These are people’s lives that we’re talking about.”
Both Gipson and English say they’re eager to see how the next several months will unfold. Both hopeful they’ll make right decision.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.