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home : columns : dear harriette May 13, 2021

3/29/2021 8:19:00 AM
Black reader wary of getting COVID-19 vaccine

DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm really afraid to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I was born in the late '60s, and I've witnessed firsthand how the medical community misdiagnoses, tricks and leads the Black community astray. I know that at some point I will need it -- and I don't want to side with anti-vaxxers -- but I'm frightened. Do you think that I am justified in being afraid of getting the vaccine, or am I being irrational? I don't believe statistics -- I know numbers can be fixed. -- On the Fence

DEAR ON THE FENCE: You are not alone in your skepticism about getting the COVID-19 vaccine -- particularly as a Black person. It is true that in the past, there have been many egregious acts by the medical community with regard to people of African descent, most notable among them being the Tuskegee Study, a 40-year study of African American males with untreated syphilis who were led to believe that they were being treated. For more on the history of how Blacks have been discriminated against regarding healthcare, read

Based on all that I have read about the COVID-19 vaccines, this is a different story. Because of the advanced technology and capabilities in modern medicine, vaccinations have been developed in record time and are being administered to all races and ethnicities in the American population. To be fair, statistics show that Black and brown neighborhoods are getting access to vaccinations more slowly than predominantly white communities, but they are getting them. And the staggering death rate is diminishing.

Given that Black people have contracted COVID-19 at higher rates than whites throughout much of the United States, it is important to get protection against this deadly disease. That's my opinion after extensive reading. To learn more about the vaccination for older African Americans and people of color, read AARP CEO Joann Jenkins' thoughts at General information about the vaccines can be found here:

DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel that I'm losing control of my schedule because of my best friend. She understands how busy I am with my new job, yet she insists that I dedicate all of my free time to her. I honestly don't think she realizes that she does this because it is just part of her personality. She naturally infringes on other people's time and helps herself to whatever she wants in all circumstances. For example, on my birthday she assumed that she and I would have the entire day to hang out, when in actuality I had other plans. If she had bothered to ask if I had other plans in the first place, she would've known that. How do I deal with this? -- Bossy Best Friend

DEAR BOSSY BEST FRIEND: In order for you to take control of your world, you have to speak up for yourself. That includes anticipating your best friend's expectations. You probably knew that your best friend would want to spend your birthday together. You could have told her in advance that you had planned a full day, and she would be able to participate in part of it. Or perhaps you could have invited her to celebrate with you on another day. You have to control your life. You do so by managing your relationships.

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