PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Shipments of the COVID vaccine are expected to be in the Philadelphia area in a matter of days. But some ethnic groups are more hesitant than others to take it.

“I pray for anybody that does take it. I just pray that they will be OK,” said Marvella Johnson.

Nervous laughter as distrust settles in over the new Pfizer COVID vaccine.

“I think they manufactured it too fast. It hasn’t been tested or been out long enough to know what the side effects are,” Tracey Marshall said.

Nearly 40,000 people participated in the Pfizer trials.

They represented all ethnic and racial backgrounds but in Black and brown communities, there’s hesitation to take the vaccine.

The Philadelphia Black Doctor’s COVID-19 Consortium is looking to change that, by building trust in the vaccine and the health care system as a whole.

“The health care system has been untrustworthy to African Americans and that’s where I have to change the narrative because it’s not as if African Americans woke one day and said I’m not going to trust my doctor. It’s from hundreds of years of experience,” Dr. Ala Stanford said.

Dr. Standford is the founder of the consortium.

Since the start of the pandemic, they’ve tested 20,000 people, mainly Black and brown people, who are mostly in underserved areas.

She says a lot of people are now asking about whether to trust the vaccine.

“What I heard a lot of is, ‘Doc when you tell me to take it, then I’ll take it’,” Dr. Standford said.

“So then doc, what are you telling people? Should they get it, or not get it,” asked CBS3’s Howard Monroe.

“What I’m telling folks is it’s an individual decision and you have to weigh the risks and benefits for you,” Dr. Stanford said. “What the CDC and FDA have said is that taking the vaccine is less risky than contracting the coronavirus.”


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