This article was originally published on CNN.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Black Americans hesitant to take the Covid-19 vaccine to trust the process — in part because one of the scientists at the forefront of the vaccine’s development is a Black woman.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert, speaking at an event hosted by the National Urban League on Tuesday, said it was important to acknowledge the US history of racism in medical research and understand how that has fostered mistrust among some Black people.
But Fauci stressed that the upcoming Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective, adding that African American scientists have been involved in their development.
“The very vaccine that’s one of the two that has absolutely exquisite levels — 94 to 95% efficacy against clinical disease and almost 100% efficacy against serious disease that are shown to be clearly safe — that vaccine was actually developed in my institute’s vaccine research center by a team of scientists led by Dr. Barney Graham and his close colleague, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, or Kizzy Corbett,” Fauci said.
Experts are trying to build confidence
“I would say to people who are vaccine-hesitant that you’ve earned the right to ask the questions that you have around these vaccines and this vaccine development process,” she says in an episode of the CNN podcast “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction.”
Fauci addresses specific concerns
Fauci is taking a similar approach.
He said he generally hears two major concerns about the vaccines: the speed at which they were developed, and their safety and efficacy.
Though vaccines have traditionally taken years or even decades to develop, advancements in vaccine platform technology have significantly shortened that process without compromising safety or scientific integrity, Fauci said.
He also addressed concerns that pharmaceutical companies or the federal government couldn’t be trusted to assess the safety of the vaccine, saying that both are advised by independent committees made up of experienced clinicians, scientists and ethicists.
Those independent experts, not politicians, determine whether the vaccine is safe for the public, he added.
“When they then say that the vaccine is safe and effective, I will tell you all that I, myself, will be perfectly comfortable in taking the vaccine and I will recommend it to my family,” Fauci said.
CNN’s Nicquel Terry Ellis, Sanjay Gupta and Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.