Black colleagues share their reasons for getting the COVID-19 vaccines

Published January 26, 2021


Jasmine Marcelin, MD - Infectious diseases physician

When I got in, I went straight to sit for my injection. A very nice nurse asked me a bunch of questions about my risk factors, prior allergic reactions and possible COVID-19 symptoms.Jasmine Marcelin, MD - Infectious diseases physician

She was so kind. I told her I didn't like needles. She spared me the countdown so I wouldn't know when it was happening and tense up (vaccine needles hurt more when you tense up). I felt the needle. It hurt. But honestly, the Tdap vaccine jab was worse. Then she was done. 

I thought of my cousin Dave, of the 300+K people who have died and all of the Black and Brown people who died at higher rates.

I thought of those who are unsure, and in my anxiety, I understood them. I thought of the people who are at higher risk than me waiting. 

All I know is the thought crossed my mind to run away. I thought of my sis, Dr. Kimberly Manning, and her emotions when volunteering for the trial earlier this year. Thanks for calling to check on me, Kimberly.

I thought of the enslaved folks who looked like me who did not have informed consent. Whose bodies were traumatized, experimented upon, whose lives were taken, in the name of science and medicine. I thought of the folks who look like me who recall these memories and grow wary. 

After reading the data myself and talking to folks I trusted, I consented to that vaccine. I thought of what a privilege it is to be able to give informed consent.

I know the data and I trust it 100%. I thought of the very real reasons people have to be anxious about this, and how despite a conversation I had with my parents to help them feel better about ME getting vaccinated, there I was anxious about getting it myself. 

My anxiety was not because of skepticism. I believe in this vaccine. My anxiety was ...complicated. 

In the end, I did it. I rolled up my sleeve. I got the shot. For myself. For my parents. For my family. For my community. For Dave. For all the folks who died and those struggling to live. For my ancestors. For Henrietta Lacks. Because Black Lives Matter.


Shanda Ross, MSN, RN - Manager of internal medicine specialty clinics 

Shanda Ross, MSN, RN - Manager of internal medicine specialty clinicsI did get the vaccine. As a nurse, I feel it is important to do my part and lead by example. As health care workers, we are experiencing this first hand and want to do what we can to eliminate it. Most of us never thought we would experience a pandemic, and now we are. While I understand the mistrust, I feel this is a form of treatment for us to get to some normalcy and prevention.

I work with the infectious diseases team and have informed and educated myself. I feel this is the best decision for all and the risks of COVID-19 outweigh the risk of the vaccine for me right now.



Jerry Stone – Facilities manager 

Jerry Stone – Facilities manager When COVID started to ramp up in our country, and our experts asked us to consider wearing masks and social distance, my family did not really question it because these are things that we had already practiced whenever we were in a hospital for clinic appointments for my son, or if we knew someone was sick.  My son was born with cystic fibrosis (CF), a rare genetic disease, which causes thick mucus buildup in the lungs, pancreas and other areas of the body. It enables harmful bacteria to collect and, in some cases, colonize; thus people with CF can get sick easily, and it may last for a long time.  

My son wears a mask at clinic appointments and stays 6 feet or more away from other CF patients. In fact, patients with CF need to always remain 6 or more feet apart so that they may not pass harmful bacteria to each other. If you were to see a CF patient, like my son, you wouldn't even be able to tell in most cases as he looks completely normal. It is known as a hidden disease, and these are the types of people we are trying to protect. I will get the vaccine so I can protect my son and so I can protect others who may be immunocompromised or have hidden illnesses as well. With everything my family has been through and the teams that we have had care for my son, I have the ultimate trust in our medical professionals and know that I am doing the right thing.