Dawn Baker made history by becoming the first person in the United States to be treated in the phase three clinical trial of a vaccine for COVID-19.
On Monday, July 27, 2020, Baker, who works as a news anchor in Savannah, Georgia, was injected with the vaccine, which was created by biotechnology company Moderna Inc., according to WRDW.
During a call with members of the media, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an arm of the National Institutes of Health, spoke about the trial. “Indeed, we are participating in the launching of a truly historic event in the history of vaccinology,” Fauci said.
Although Baker is the first person in the nation to be injected with the vaccine, 15,000 others in the U.S. also will participate in the clinical trial. In the next few months, doctors will be able to determine whether the vaccine will keep patients healthy and if there are any side effects.
While this may be a history-making moment for Baker, many have spoken out against the use of vaccines in the Black community. For decades, distrust has formed due to racist practices against Blacks in the medical field. The most notable was the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” also known as the “Tuskegee Experiment.” The study, created by the U.S. Public Health Service, began in 1932 and reportedly involved 600 Black men who were unknowingly injected with syphilis and not treated for 40 years.
But even as a probable vaccine faces skeptics, doctors believe that the only way to prevent the ongoing spread of COVID-19 is to find a vaccine that can be made available to the public by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.43 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 151,000 have died