Sign in to your account

Don't have an account?

Create an account
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more
Black medical doctor in a white coat and red stethoscope examining a patient on a ward. Our doctors on askawayhealth have years of clinical experience to provide top notch care.

Need to check your symptoms?

Use our symptom checker to help determine what your symptoms are and to ensure you get the help you need.

Check your symptoms


Request a reset

Don't have an account?

Create an account


Reset your password

Don't have an account?

Create an account


BLACK and Worried About The Covid Vaccine?

December 29, 2020

Are you Black and worried about the Covid vaccine? In this post, we’ll consider how some of the new vaccines are developed and why many black people are concerned about them. Even more, we consider there are at least three excellent reasons that should ease your concerns about taking the vaccines.

By Dr Sylvia Kama-Kieghe

This article will help you make your decision about whether to have the covid vaccine or not; based on the facts rather than unclear conspiracy theories and other misinformation around Covid-19.

Recently, the term Lucifer has been in the news more frequently, too.

And so, we include a bonus section with a little analysis of the Luciferase enzyme and its use in Covid-19 treatments.

Why Blacks May Believe They Have Good Reasons to Fear The Covid Vaccine

I’m a practising general practitioner and member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, RCGP, UK.

As a black woman, I understand the concerns that other black people have around the Covid-19 vaccine; but I’d like to share some reasons why we do not need to fear having the vaccine.

Firstly, we should address genuine concerns that Black people have about the newly developed Covid-19 vaccines.

These concerns are based on the personal experience of black people receiving medical treatment of lower/inferior standards.

Worried About Covid vaccine

They also come from historical events where Black people have been subject to mistreatment and misrepresentation in medical research; often guinea pigs in medical experiments.

If you’d like examples for some of these instances, there are a few links in the reference section below.

Due to these experiences, there is a natural suspicion and reluctance among blacks to accept these new vaccines.

But there is also the dilemma that significant proportions of those infected by Covid-19 were from black and other minority groups in many countries.

Therefore, they are a critical group that will benefit immensely from vaccines to prevent the Covid infection.

An Infodemic Plague

As identified by the WHO earlier this year, we are not only in the throes of a pandemic but also in an infodemic – a crisis of accurate public health information.

These are some of the worrying/scary stories going around about the Covid-19 vaccines.

  • It causes sterilisation in black men or women.
  • Taking the vaccine makes you a chimaera by amending your genetic code or corrupts your genetic material.
  • people are being denied other treatments and forced to take the Covid-19 vaccine
  • Their development has come too quickly to be safe in comparison to other vaccines and medical treatments.
  • Newer vaccination methods are dangerous, i.e. Protein-based vs Gene-based
  • We don’t even need a vaccine when the condition is preventable and treatable.

Worried About Covid Vaccine

About The Newer Technology Covid Vaccines

First, let us look at the vaccines – three in particular, out of nearly 200 vaccines at various stages of development around the world:

  • PfizerBioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Oxford Astra Zeneca.

These three vaccines have a common theme – their development comes from newer Gene-Based vaccine technology.

They are different from the older vaccines – which we develop using protein-based technology, already use either in routine childhood immunisation schedules, travel vaccines etc.

Gene-based vaccines are of two types:

  • Viral Vector
  • and Nucleic Acid Chains.

In the first group, the vaccines are delivered through a viral vector (or carrier); while in the second group, vaccine delivery is through nucleic acid chains.

(Nucleic acid chains are simply naked DNA or mRNA strands (with genetic code) or DNA/mRNA strands within a lipid carrier).

Viral Vector Vaccines

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, already in circulation in the UK and US, fall into the 2nd category.

They have become the first mRNA vaccines to receive approval for development and use outside research.

However, the technology has been in existence for about 30 years now.

Once you have the vaccine, the mRNA provides a unique set of instructions to create the Covid virus spike protein. The body recognises this as a foreign body and mounts an immune response, learning what to do if infection with the actual virus happens.

Nucleic Acid Chain Vaccines

We expect approval of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine for use in a matter of days or weeks – and this is the vaccine that will likely have great consequence for global use.

It is cheaper, suitable for transport in a cold chain; a non-profit vaccine aiming for global supply, equity, and commitment to low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs),

It is the first type of the gene-based group, i.e. where a viral vector transports genetic material in a less harmful virus.

This is similar to the development of the new Ebola vaccine (approved in July 2020).

For Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, the genetic code is carried on a weaker, common cold-causing adenovirus and is harmless.

Again, a person who receives the AstraZeneca vaccine receives the genetic information needed to create an immune response in preparation for possible future infection with the virus.

Advantages That Gene-Based Vaccines Offer.

We can make them rapidly and in large amounts – since they gow in test tubes, they will not need cells or eggs for production.

If you’d like to know more about how these vaccines are different from the older ones and each other, watch out for my Comparison Analysis for the Covid vaccines.

Three Reasons Not To Be Worried About The Covid Vaccine

Let us now look at three reasons to have some confidence in these vaccines of gene-based technology.

Pre-Existing Technology

This addresses the issue of speed in developing the vaccine. How could they have got them out so quickly?

And considering the rapid pace of their development, could they be effective, safe and reliable?

What about phase 3 trials that we hear so much about as critical in the safe development of medicines? (By the way, if you are wondering what phase three trials mean in respect of vaccine development – watch my video here to learn more).

However, these are ALL valid questions.

But the fact is – scientists have worked on the back of already existing technology to create these vaccines.

We are currently using mRNA technology to develop gene therapy and cancer treatments.

Before we had Covid, we had SARS (in 2002), and MERS (2012) – severe health conditions caused by viruses in the same family as the SARS-CoV-2.

Therefore although the COVID virus is new, studies on preventing a pandemic caused by a coronavirus have an 18-year history.

This same scientific progress helped the scientists sequence viral RNA – less than one month after the SARS-Co-V2 was discovered.

Additionally, here’s another thought – for some years now – we have been developing flu vaccines in less than 12 months.

Every year’s flu injection is different from the year before, but they are not developed from scratch!

Instead, vaccine developers already have facilities set up to make flu vaccines.

Each year, they apply the specific influenza strain and prepare the vaccine for that year.

Extraordinarily Available Funding

This significantly led to lots of red tape being cut off – but it wasn’t just enough that the hard work of creating a foundation for the vaccine had already been done years ago.

The other aspect that made a big difference was good planning and unprecedented coordination between researchers, manufacturers, and regulators.

This has seen a massive amount of bureaucratic red tape that often dogs the development of new medicines sliced away to allow product development.

Vaccine trials usually involve a lot of waiting – we are told that the usual development time for a vaccine is ten years – four years even; but not in this case.

Vast amounts of money poured in, from various countries’ governments and other funding bodies and donors.

Everyone was desperate to get a solution to the pandemic.

The pharmaceutical companies were keen to rapidly make the vaccines, while regulators worldwide wanted to get an approved vaccine out to the public.

Usually between these two positions is a lot of waiting for funds, data and paperwork; meetings for approval and more.

But thanks to the overwhelming desire for a solution, unprecedented fast-tracking led to having these vaccines out of the laboratory into the streets in under 12 months.

Reasons not to fear covid vaccine

Diversity in the Trials and Decision-Making Rooms

Even if you accept that things were done differently to get the vaccine out so quickly, do they work?

Are they safe? What will be the long term effects since we shortened phase 3 trials from the usual four years or more to months?

The answers to these questions come from data we have available on these vaccines thanks to the trials and volunteers involved in their development.

We know from the data that these vaccines are highly effective, and there are minimal side effects in the short term.

During phase three trials, the pandemic spread quite quickly, so it wasn’t hard for scientists to accumulate enough cases in the thousands to allow them to end the trials and analyse the data.

Let’s look at one of Pfizer’s published data – the trial included diverse groups as you can see from this image of the data published by the US FDA Emergency Use Authorisation Report.

Worried About Covid Vaccine

Members of the FDA’s review board also included a diverse group with blacks and other ethnic minorities analysing the data.

In the Oxford Astra Zeneca study, diverse groups from different parts of the UK were involved as trial volunteers, and the researchers in the Oxford COVID Vaccine Trial Group also showed broad diversity.

Reasons Not To Fear Covid Vaccine

The Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine entered phase III efficacy trials before others like Pfizer and Moderna.

United States, South Africa, Japan and Russia did the Oxford AZ vaccine trials with thousands of trial participants from each country.

So what is my point showing you all this? That while the phase 3 trials have been faster than usual, they’ve not been rushed.

Black and Worried About Covid Vaccine

Most importantly, the vaccines’ effects were analysed on diverse population groups randomly so that blacks were NOT selected to be used as guinea pigs or for experimentation.

And – not only do we have blacks in the studies, but they are also in the review meetings, decision and approval meetings for the release of the vaccines in different countries.

This should give us the confidence that we are equal contributors and recipients to the study for treatments meant for all humanity’s benefit.

Luciferase Enzymes Analysis in Covid 19

The enzyme Luciferase is currently getting a lot of attention because of its use in developing therapies for Covid-19.

Some people relate this enzyme to a tool of evil because the name is related to Lucifer, the devil in Christian faith.

Luciferase is the name for a group of enzyme which glows/shines when oxidised.

Worried About Covid Vaccine - role of Luciferase Enzyme

It was named and discovered by scientist Raphael Dubois at the end of the 19th century.

It naturally occurs in insects called fireflies and is used in many ways – such as measuring how well a drug or test works quickly.

We use it in covid-19 tests, as a more sensitive and accurate visual sign for whether covid-19 antibodies are being formed.

Thus it can help in developing rapid Covid tests. And it is used to extract the mRNA molecule for developing some vaccines.

Luciferase is NOT a component in any of the vaccines; it is harmless and has been in use for years in developing other products from industries including food, agriculture, health etc.

So how do you feel? What do you believe?

I hope these reasons help you commit to checking out the information you hear on social media or other sources before deciding.

Whether you take the vaccine or not is an action, and I hope you make the right decision for yourself based on what’s true.

Make sure you comment below and let me know – do you feel any more or less reassured about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine?

Dr Sylvia has NO affiliations with any pharmaceutical company or organisation. All the points shared are fact-checked – with the links in the reference section below.

More Reading:


Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through

Image Credits: Canva

Share this blog article

On this page

Let us know what you think

Want to know how your comment data is processed? Learn more

Access over 600 resources & our monthly newsletter.

Askawayhealth 2023 grant recipient from European Union Development Fund

Askawayhealth, 2023 Award Recipient

Our educational content meets the standards set by the NHS in their Standard for Creating Health Content guidance.

Askawayhealth aims to deliver reliable and evidence based women's health, family health and sexual health information in a way that is easily relatable and easy for everyone to access.

Askawayhealth symptom Checker tool image

Utilize our complimentary symptom checker tool to gain more information about any uncertain symptoms you might have.