Approximately 40% of Americans say they will not take the COVID-19 vaccine, with many expressing concerns about possible side effects. In an effort to better inform and enlighten the public about the COVID-19 vaccine, global spiritual leader Bishop T.D. Jakes has brought together several of the world's leading coronavirus experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease official, for a panel discussion titled Conversations with America: Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Conversations with America is a semi-regular, data-driven forum developed by Jakes to help Americans navigate difficult discussions. In addition to Fauci, other panelists will include:
- Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a viral immunologist and lead scientist on the coronavirus research team at the National Institute of Infectious and Allergic Disease's Vaccine Research Center. Corbett leads the team of scientists behind the Moderna Inc. COVID-19 vaccine.
- Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu, an infectious disease specialist, associate professor at Yale School of Medicine and principal investigator of the Pfizer COVID-19 trial at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation
Jill Waggoner, a Dallas-based family medicine practitioner, author, and health and wellness expert will co-host the discussion.
The event will premiere exclusively on the official T.D. Jakes YouTube channel on Monday, Jan. 25, at noon CT.
"There are many hurdles to finding a solution to the pandemic, including the supply and distribution of the vaccine," said Jakes. "But I believe the biggest issue is distrust. Distrust is understandably high among African Americans, who have faced decades of unethical medical experiments and disparate treatment in health care. This Conversations with America event will provide the public with knowledge and education, but also with hope."
Distrust of the vaccine is particularly high among African Americans. A December survey by the Pew Research Center found that only 42% of African Americans say they would take the vaccine, compared with 63% of Hispanics and 61% of white adults.
Conversations with America began as an annual public-opinion study exploring the current perceptions about a broad spectrum of issues, including economic opportunity, criminal justice and national security across all demographics.