KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A group of local doctors took part in a public forum to discuss the importance of the vaccines, especially as it relates to Kansas City-area minority communities, during a panel discussion Thursday in conjunction with Black History Month.
"There's a lot of myths and concerns and fears about the vaccine," Dr. Jannette Berkley-Patton with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine said.
To calm those fears, the panel conducted a virtual discussion that tried to debunk myths many people may have over this vaccine.
"This is not a hoax," Dr. Mario Castro with University of Kansas School of Medicine said. "This is something that really affects you."
The area doctors addressed concerns about the accelerated process used to create these vaccines.
"The efficacy, or how well this vaccine works, is better than anything we would have dreamed," Dr. Bridgette Jones with the UMKC School of Medicine said.
Castro added, "We have done it the right way here in the United States. We've done it through very careful, controlled clinical trials.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted minority communities.
African-Americans are one-and-a-half times more likely to get COVID-19 and three times more likely to die from virus-related complications.
That's a big reason why researchers developing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the only two to have received an Emergency Use Authorization so far from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, were cognizant of including Black and Latino participants in those clinical trials.
"It was important to make sure that the trials included enough diversity that we could feel comfortable in recommending the vaccine to all people," Dr. Michael Weaver with St. Luke's Hospital and the UMKC School of Medicine said.
Johnson & Johnson, which has developed a single-dose vaccine unlike the current two-doses vaccines available, applied for an Emergency Use Authorization earlier Thursday.
Berkley-Patton, who recently received her second vaccine dose, said health leaders need to be transparent about what to expect after receiving the vaccine.
"I know from my second dose, I was really really tired and I had the achiness, little aches and pains and those kinds of things, and so we need to be able to share that too," she said.
During the forum, the doctors said they want access for all communities to get the vaccine, urging everyone to get inoculated when their turn comes.
"If you're weighing out risk-benefit ratio as far as the vaccine versus this disease, it's not even close," Dr. Michael Moncure with Truman Medical Centers/University Health said.
Information about the COVID-19 vaccine, the phased distribution plan and how to get vaccinated is available online for Missouri residents and Kansas residents.