DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – News spread quickly that administration of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is being paused to investigate a half dozen cases of a rare blood clot.READ MORE: Hit-And-Run Driver Kills Pedestrian On North Buckner Lane
“To keep this in perspective, this is not as disappointing as many of us feel,” says Dr. Mark Casanova, immediate past president of the Dallas County Medical Society, even while admitting that he “woke up and felt like the wind had been knocked out of our sails.”
Dr. Casanova says the CDC and FDA are doing the right thing focusing on safety.
“If a concern is raised, we need to dig deep and nail that down.”
And yet beyond the medical community’s reassurances, there is the harsh reality of how the investigation will impact the already vaccine reluctant in the black community.
“That’s all I needed to hear,” says Gerard Claiborne. “It’s not ready, yet.”
Claiborne is the Owner and CEO of FreshFadeLIFE.
He works to keep his community looking good at his South Dallas barbershop, but works to keep them feeling good as well.
His King of Cutz barbershop offers clients, who don’t often visit the doctor, blood pressure checks.READ MORE: Once Fugitive Serial Killer Jose Sifuentes Pleads Guilty To Strangling, Killing 3 Women In Dallas
He’s involved in an effort to stop the spread of HIV and with the Josh Howard Foundation delivers meals for underprivileged children in several after school programs.
But a Covid vaccine?
“It’s like buying a new car,” says Claiborne, “that first new revision? It’s always some recalls, and this is a recall. I’m gonna wait until that next version come out and then we will revisit this conversation again about the vaccine.”
It is a hesitancy that Claiborne says he hears almost daily and suspects that conversations are the same in other barber shops, beauty shops and nail salons.
“At one point it was a status symbol,” explains Claiborne, “but now, it’s like ‘I don’t know about that vaccine man. I’m not trusting it.’ And then this? It’s like salt in the wound. It’s going to be a hard sell, not just the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but any vaccine.”
It is a hesitancy that experts say the medical community must face head on.
“We’ve had to own that the African American community in particular has a learned, real life hesitancy for medical interventions,” adds Dr. Casanova, “especially something that we are studying, right? Thats real and we cannot deny that. And the way we overcome it is by providing as much transparent reassurance as possible.”
Meanwhile, Claiborne says he will continue to take precautions: wearing a mask and social distancing.
He will even assist clients who want information on how to access a vaccine, but says he won’t try to convince anyone, as he has too many questions, himself.MORE NEWS: Texas Landlord Jimmy Wolfenbarger Indicted For Murder Of Tenant Holly Simmons In 2006
“It’s gonna be a huge setback for our communities trying to stay safe, so my advice? I’m not going to say ‘take it’, do what you need to do to be safe.”