We all can’t wait until COVID-19 disappears, but what will it take to make that happen? With multiple vaccines on the market, a conversation exploring our options is really what we need. Recently, we came up with a solution for us to get all those elusive questions answered in a roundtable titled “HBCU Buzz Presents: Breaking Down The Facts About Vaccinations Against COVID-19.” Our panel included top HBCU doctors who have the expertise for the answers, plus some familiar celebrity faces who had plenty of questions to ask!

During the panel, Kelly Rowland, Howard University alum Lance Gross and Ashley Blaine shared their concerns about how the virus has affected them, and they asked what the future may look like for their friends and family. ER Physician and public health and defense expert Dr. Dan Fagbuyi weighed in on their questions, as well as HBCU doctors such as Dillard University President Dr. Walter Kimbrough and Dr. David A. Hodge, the Sr. Associate Director of Education of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care.

There was so much valuable insight! For example, Lance asked, “For many black men, including myself, it’s very challenging to trust the system. When the [vaccination] talks began, I immediately thought of the Tuskegee experiment,” he said. “How can you explain the Tuskegee syphilis study, its purpose, and how it affects science today?” Tuskegee University director Dr. Hodge sounded like he couldn’t wait for this question when he responded, “the first thing we have to do is correct the language, the language is it’s scapegoating language.” In fact, his breakdown is something we all should hear.

“It’s not the Tuskegee syphilis study or the Tuskegee experiment,” said Dr. Hodge. “The Tuskegee experiment is actually the Tuskegee Airmen. The so-called Tuskegee syphilis study is misleading because it puts the onus on Tuskegee and the University. So both the city [of Tuskegee] and the University get the punishment for this vile and horrific act that was done to 623 black men and their families, because what we have to remember is they had wives and daughters…” He went on to clarify that it was the  “United States Public Health Service syphilis study at Tuskegee” that is to blame for this atrocity, and that COVID-19 vaccinations are completely different. “It’s a major difference because the so-called Tuskegee syphilis study was about not treating the negro men of syphilis. But what the vaccine is about is about treating, see it’s the very opposite, it’s about treating the world population. So when we get caught up in that distrust language, our people are getting penalized.”

To hear more detailed answers about the questions you may have always had, tune in to our discussion today!