CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Many of us have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, regarding how well it works, and if we should get it. Health experts from the University of Virginia spoke at virtual conversation this afternoon, hosted by the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, to answer pressing questions sent in by Charlottesville community members.
Dr. Ebony Hilton of UVA Health said the vaccine is more of a preparation mechanism to help protect the body, should it be exposed to the virus.
“We’re basically trying to give your body a practice run that if you were to see any piece of the virus that you would already know how to use that fight or flight kind of game plan,” Hilton said.
Other doctors on the panel explained that every vaccinated person responds differently to the shot.
“If you don’t have a fever or headache or muscle aches, it doesn’t mean it didn’t work,” said Dr. Michael Williams, another UVA Health clinician. “Don’t be concerned if you have some muscle aches, or headache, or some fever or feel like you have the flu frankly for a day or two afterwards that’s not necessarily a bad reaction.”
Panelists encouraged people to be vocal about having access to the vaccine, especially marginalized groups that are disproportionately affected by the virus.
“As Black people we have to demand, ‘Give us the intervention that will save our lives because we want to grow old with our children as well,’” Hilton said.
Panelists like UVA Medical Center Resident Markie Flemming also reflected on the the process of creating the vaccine, noting that trials were done on all races and that a Black doctor was part of the team that developed the Pfizer vaccine.
“This vaccine wasn’t just developed by ‘the white man’ wanting to experiment on black and brown individuals but that we actually had representation at the top,” Flemming explained.