Jessica Merricks touts safety of COVID-19 vaccine in Times-News report

Merricks, an assistant professor of biology, offered insights into the mistrust some in the Black community have in the new vaccines.

A recent report by The Times-News of Burlington about mistrust of the COVID-19 vaccine among certain demographic groups includes insights from Assistant Professor of Biology Jessica Merricks.

Jessica Merricks, assistant professor of biology

The article by reporter Dean-Paul Stephens looks at a gap in vaccination rates between White and Black residents. Merricks and others noted that there is a history of mistrust of the medical field among members of the Black community, though she believes that the vaccine is very safe.

“This is my personal opinion but I think it’s been validated, especially this year, as we see the disparities among marginalized populations in terms of who has been most severely impacted by COVID-19,” Merricks told the Times-News. “We know that minority populations, impoverished populations, tend to see the worst of the disease. Part of the reason why that is is because they are not being treated equitably in hospitals and by medical professionals.”

Merricks said she is not trying to imply that the unequal treatment is intentional but that it is a systemic problem when minority patients are not receiving the same intensity of care.

Read the entire article here.