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A doctor draws blood from one of the Tuskegee test subjects in Tuskegee, Alabama. The clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the United States Public Health Service. (photo via Wikicommons)
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 09 September 2020

henrietta lacks 1920 1951 medHenrietta Lacks circa 1945–1951OAKLAND, CA – The Black Church PAC today urged the presidents of Dillard University and Xavier University of Louisiana, both historically Black colleges, to refrain from offering their students up as guinea pigs for controversial and untested coronavirus vaccine trials. Given the Black community’s troubling experience with the American medical system – experience that includes the dreadful and deadly Tuskegee Experiment, where scores of Black people were injected with Syphilis, forced sterilizations, and the harvesting of medical information without disclosure to victims or families, the faith-based advocacy organization warned that it is too soon to ask Black students to participate in the vaccine trials.

“With Black people being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, less likely to get tested and less likely to be taken seriously upon presentation at some doctors’ offices and hospitals, no leader should urge Black students to participate in COVID-19 trials at this time,” said Pastor Michael McBride, co-founder of the Black Church PAC and campaign director of the LIVE FREE campaign. “Students and their families are voicing concerns about being pressured to participate in such trials. Urging students to get the vaccine, at a time when many in the nation are questioning the safety and effectiveness of it, is traumatizing and puzzling.”

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@xula1925 “Overcoming the virus will require the availability of vaccines effective for all peoples in our communities, especially our black and brown neighbors and we appeal to the students, faculty, staff, & alumni of Xavier, Dillard & our sister institutions to consider participating in this trial or others being conducted." It is of the utmost importance that a significant number of black and brown persons participate so that the effectiveness of these vaccines can be understood across the many diverse populations that make up these United States. Join Presidents’ Verret and Kimbrough in participating in the Ochsner vaccine trials. Send an email to COVIDVaccine@ochsner.org or send a message to (504) 703-8283 to receive more information. Learn More: https://bit.ly/2Z4dLD7

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“The presidents of Dillard University and Xavier University of Louisiana should immediately disclose if they are being paid to urge students to participate in the trials and explain the underlying motivation for offering students up as lambs to be slaughtered,” said Pastor Jamal Bryant, co-founder of the Black Church PAC and pastor of New Birth Church in Atlanta, GA. “As a leader of a Historically Black College and University, the chief constituency these leaders should be serving is students; this latest stunt calls into question their loyalty and motives.”

The Bioethics Commission also noted: “We “cannot allow our children to be an instrument of anyone inadvertently or intentionally misdirecting and politicizing the research on COVID-19 for their political interest. Listen to the scientists, medical and public health professionals who have warned against those who rush to experimentation without appropriate controls."

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