Vaccine trial participant urges communities of color to get COVID-19 vaccine

Vanzetta Evans was compelled to help when she saw the impact COVID-19 was having on her community.

"I wanted to do it because I wanted to get back to my family, to get back to my friends," Evans said.

She received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine last week. The DeKalb County resident was among the first group eligible to get the vaccine because she participated in the Moderna vaccine trial last year.

Evans volunteered after seeing news coverage about the clinical trial and the need for African-American participants.

Evans said, "I just wanted to make it until tomorrow and the next day and the next day and help my community out as well."

Earlier this month, Governor Brian Kemp met with Morehouse School of Medicine President Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, and other state and local leaders, to discuss vaccine hesitancy and opportunities to increase the vaccination rate in communities of color in Georgia. They are underrepresented in part, because of a long-held cultural mistrust of medical institutions.

Evans said she had no reservations about getting vaccinated after participating in the trial, and hopes her experience will help alleviate the concerns of those who don't trust the science.

"I wish African Americans, Latinos, brown people, that they learn more about it, see how the vaccine works in us, and it's working well," Evans said.

Evans believes the benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks.

"The benefits, especially if you have diabetes, overweight, high blood pressure, COVID affects us a lot harder, it hits us harder."

Evans experienced a headache, fatigue, and a little soreness at the injection site after getting her second shot. She looked forward to being reunited with family members after months apart.

"My nieces, I haven't had them in a year, so the doctor told me once the vaccine is fully in my body, I can give them a hug."

She did just that on Sunday, one day after her birthday. Evans now enjoying those hugs she's longed for these many months.

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