On COVID-19 Vaccine and the Black Community: A Tyler Perry Special, which aired on BET Thursday, influential actor and director Tyler Perry sat down for a conversation about the new Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and the concern that many people in the Black community have about getting them.
“I know there’s a lot of hesitation out there to take this vaccine, and I got a call from Brady Health System, one of the leading hospitals here in Georgia, asking if I would take the vaccine to show you all that it’s safe. Well, when that question came to me, I thought: ‘I’ve got a lot of questions, and I know you have a lot of questions too,’” stated Perry.
“My purpose and my point here today is to talk to you about this vaccine. I want to make this completely clear, I do not want anybody to take this because I’m taking it. What I want to do is give you the information, the facts. There’s a lot of misinformation out there.”
Perry invited two experts to sit down with him — infectious disease specialist Dr. Carlos del Rio and professor of medicine Kimberly Manning — to answer all of his questions so he could decide whether to take the vaccine by the end of the 30-minute commercial-free special.
Two of the biggest questions skeptics have about the vaccine are: what are the immediate side effects and what are the long term safety risks?
To answer these questions, Dr. del Rio pointed out that the mRNA technology used in the COVID-19 vaccine is not new, it has already been used for over two years in the Ebola vaccine. As for the long-term effects, del Rio stated that most of the side effects “occurred in the first two months of the vaccine. So if you are going to have a problem with the vaccine, you are going to see it very early on. You don’t tend to see it six months, a year, two years later.”
Perry also learned that it may still be possible to get COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine, but it has proven 100 percent effective in preventing someone from getting sick enough to end up in the ICU.
“What we think may happen, because the virus is still circulating after you get the two doses of vaccine, because you’re still going to be seeing the virus, but you’re not going to get sick, every time you see the virus it is almost like you’re getting a booster vaccine. It’s almost like you are getting a new reminder that it’s still out there, so your immune system is continuously being reminded that something is out there, and that is almost like getting a new stimulus of vaccination," stated del Rio.
Perry asked, “So does that mean when you have the vaccine, you could still get the virus?” Del Rio responded, “That’s a really good question. We don’t know that yet. We think you don’t, but we don’t know. And that’s why we are telling people, after you get the vaccine, until we have that data, the studies were done to know if the vaccine prevented you from getting sick. And they were really good at preventing it. It’s 100 percent effective so far preventing you from getting really sick, like ending up in the ICU.”
Ultimately, Perry shared that one of the main reasons he wanted to take the vaccine is because there is no way to know whether or not he could be one of the people who get critically sick. So, by the end of the episode, Perry had made up his mind — he would take the vaccine.
“With all of that said, I am definitely going to take this vaccine. I have a clear understanding now. I’m ready to take it now, and I’m hoping that more people will take this information and make their own choices and decisions for the betterment of our health. So thank you for watching this. By me gathering these experts here, it was my hope that something was said that will inspire you to do what’s best for you and your family. Again, I’m not advocating for you to do it, but I really would hope that you consider everything that was said here today,” Perry concluded, before he received the vaccine on-camera. Following the injection, Perry stated surprisingly, “I didn’t feel it, there you go! I got the vaccine. Here we go.”
COVID-19 Vaccine and the Black Community: A Tyler Perry Special aired Jan. 28 at 9 p.m. on BET.
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