COVID vaccine skepticism among some Black and Latinx Angelenos

Hosted by

COVID-19 has hit Black and Latino communities hard since March. But those same communities are skeptical over the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine. The first round of Pfizer vaccines arrived in California on December 14, 2020. Photo by Marco Verch (CC BY 2.0).

As the national COVID-19 rollout begins, frontline workers from different industries are vying for a top spot for the treatment. But not everyone is as excited for the vaccine. 

“What are the side effects? What is [the vaccine] going to do to me long term? Is there something they need to worry about?,” says Martin Duran, a Latinx resident of LA. “For a virus that attacks your respiratory system, that when it gets you it feels like you're suffocating to death, I would imagine this vaccine is extremely potent and strong. It's definitely not a vitamin C tablet for sure. So what is it?” 

Others are willing to get vaccinated eventually, but history gives them pause. African American LA native James Downing says, “Historically, the government's done some pretty vile things. Most people know about Tuskegee. But ... they were doing testing on Native Americans ... the internment camps with the Japanese Americans. There's a long, long list of things that the government has done to its own people.”