He thought about the legacy of Tuskegee, and the adage that when a white American gets a cold, a Black American gets the flu.
Rev. Dr. Dwight Fowler, senior pastor at First Church of God, also thought about former President Barack Obama saying that as soon as he could, he would get a vaccine against COVID-19. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also said they would get vaccinated.
“I said to myself, if they’re willing to take it, then I have no problem taking it myself,” he said.
Fowler said he called his doctor’s office in early January and after waiting a couple of weeks, received a call to come in for the first of two shots. His second is scheduled for Feb. 19.
But he knows a lot of people do have a problem.
“There are some who literally say that they don’t trust the vaccine,” Fowler said. “They’re not going to take it.”
In light of historical abuses in medicine, Fowler said he turned to his faith. He quoted Scripture that referred to being “strong and of good courage” and that God has instilled a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.
“I chose to simply be a faith walker and would hope that by leading the way, others would have enough courage to recognize that if it was safe with me, then it should most likely be safe with them.”
Fowler, first vice president of United Christian Leadership Ministry, described himself as an activist and a “drum major for justice.” He talked with Minority Reporter about the vaccine.
On the process: “There are about three different papers that you have to fill out, inquiring as to your health, et cetera. Once they give you the vaccine, they ask you to wait 15 minutes to see if there are any kind of reactions. After the 15 minutes, I was told … the side effects should be a sore arm for a couple of days and headaches. So I had a sore arm the following day in the area where I took the vaccine and that was it.”
On what he says to people who are concerned about vaccine: “President Obama took it … a number of my friends have taken it, I’ve taken it. And I would strongly suggest and politely request that you take advantage of it as well, primarily because there is no record that we have that has proven that taking the vaccine has brought about anyone’s demise.”
On setting an example: “As the late president Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” So consequently by the mere fact that I’ve taken the vaccine, that’s verification for them, that it didn’t do me any harm. And since it didn’t do me any harm that should give them incentive to take the vaccine as well.”
On an individual’s decision: “I think it’s important for them to understand that if they don’t take it, the probability of them being in a danger zone, as it pertains to their mortality is greater than it is if they do take it. And I think it’s important for them to be fully aware of that. But I would certainly suggest they … make their own decision.”