America's health system betrays Black people like me. But I got the COVID vaccine anyway.

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America's health system betrays Black people like me. But I got the COVID vaccine anyway.

Adom M. CooperI received my first dose of Pfizer's mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020 and received the second dose on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Tr

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Adom M. Cooper

I received my first dose of Pfizer’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020 and received the second dose on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Truthfully — I was nervous. Although tens of millions of Americans still wait for their chance to be vaccinated, I found myself uniquely positioned for early voluntary access because of my job at the United States Department of State.

I have a privileged background and have no issue discussing it. My parents are Ivy Leaguers. My father is an anesthesiologist at the Cleveland Clinic medical center. I have a law degree and many friends and colleagues who are practicing physicians. Wealthy folks are offering $25,000 for vaccine access and my employment situation offered vaccination right away. 

So why was I hesitant? I am African American.

Distrust runs deep

This country’s history, including the history of public health, is tainted with racist policies and practices. Black folks are skeptical and suspicious for many reasons. Our health care system has consistently fallen short of serving us in the same manner as our non-Black counterparts.



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