Letters to the Editor: A doctor’s answer to people who fear COVID-19 vaccination

A trial participant receives Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine in Seattle on March 16.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist Erika D. Smith rightly points out reasons that Black Americans might distrust the medical establishment on COVID-19 immunization. It is critical for health agencies and providers at every level to remind the public of how these vaccines are being developed and tested.

The vaccine developers are going to great lengths to recruit a wide range of participants into the trials that determine vaccine efficacy. People of color are strongly represented among vaccination trial volunteers. Media reports on the two vaccine developers now submitting their trial data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization have emphasized the degree to which each study has achieved such diversity among its volunteers.

Furthermore, oversight does not stop upon vaccine approval and licensure. Medical professionals and the FDA will continue to monitor adverse events and efficacy for years, in the event of rare side effects or loss of potency.


Right now, everyone should be assured that their safety and health are of utmost importance to the FDA and the state and local public health agencies that will assist in promoting and providing COVID-19 vaccines to the American public.

David E. Dassey, M.D., Los Angeles