I’m a Black Doctor. My Mom Still Won’t Get Vaccinated.

I’m frustrated, but I can’t really blame her. Here’s why.

Filling a syringe with COVID-19 vaccine.
Photo: Ulrich Baumgarten

Months of cajoling and pressure haven’t worked. Neither has bringing home the COVID-19 vaccine and offering to administer it myself. I got my own vaccine as soon as I could — as did my husband and sons — with little to no side effects.

Yet my mother, a 93-year-old Black woman, still won’t get vaccinated.

Her excuses vary. One day she’ll insist, “I don’t know what’s in it,” even though I’ve explained it to her in detail. Another day: “I already have too many medications in my body” or “I’m just not comfortable with it.” What she hasn’t said, but what I think is really the point: She doesn’t trust the medical system. And if you don’t trust a system, you don’t trust what the system is trying to do.

My mom is a college-educated woman who married a mathematician and raised three kids in a neighborhood chosen for its good schools. My degrees from Harvard, Case Western Reserve University, and UCLA are a testament to her determination and devotion to learning.

She’s well aware of my credentials. I’ve been a medical doctor for more than 30 years. I am a member of the National Academy of Medicine. I run an award-winning hospital and health system serving 1.5 million residents of South Los Angeles.

Mom lives with us. She listened closely and sympathetically over the past year and a half as I talked about COVID-19’s devastating toll on our largely Black and Latino community. She knows that my hospital was at one of the epicenters of the pandemic. She knows that COVID-19 would almost certainly kill a woman of her age. And yet, in spite of all this, something is still keeping her from getting her shots.

Continue reading the full post at The Atlantic.

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