DeKalb woman encourages high-risk groups to get COVID vaccine

Vanzetta Evans says loved ones were initially concerned when she told them she was participating in the Moderna vaccine trial. She was compelled to help when she saw the impact COVID-19 was having on her community.

"I understand their fear, the fear of the unknown. It was unknown when we first learned about COVID, and we are still learning," Evans told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes.

The DeKalb County woman decided to volunteer after seeing news coverage about the Moderna vaccine trial and the need for African-American participants. 

"I know that minorities are typically underrepresented in these trials," she stated.

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They are underrepresented, in part, because of a long-held cultural mistrust of medical institutions. Evans says many of her friends expressed reservations, some pointing to the infamous Tuskegee Study, a government medical experiment that allowed hundreds of African-American men to go untreated for syphilis for decades while doctors studied the effects of the disease. 

Evans said her friends, "were a little uncertain, unsure and a little afraid for me, but I knew that science and the laws with medicine had changed, so I didn't have any fear of them doing some crazy experiment with me. I also knew the benefit was greater than the risk for myself." 

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She signed up over the summer and began taking part in the trials in mid-September. 

Evans doesn't know whether she received the actual vaccine or a placebo. She says she had no side effects when she got the injection.  After having participated in the trial, she believes the vaccine is as safe as the flu shot.  

Evans is sharing her experience in hopes of encouraging Blacks and Hispanics, who are being disproportionately affected by the virus, to get vaccinated once the vaccine is made available to the public. 

She is thankful that her participation in the trial will help save lives. 

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