SILVER SPRING, Md. — Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is a step closer to authorization after a Federal Drug Administration panel recommended emergency use approval.
A Black woman in D.C. who went through the Moderna trials is making it her mission to encourage Black Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gloria Nurse, 75, has battled lung conditions since she was a child.
“I struggled all my life – not just with asthma and tuberculosis – but there were other extenuating diseases,” she said.
Nurse has been determined to help find solutions for the diseases and infections she lives with by participating in medical research for years.
“When the COVID-19 came about, I realized I would like to join this testing. I knew I was the perfect person because of all of the issues that I’ve had medically,” Nurse said. “I was 74 at that time.”
She told WUSA9 she concerns participating in the trial but said there was one thing that encouraged her to proceed.
“My fears needed to get out of the way of me deciding if I wanted to live or not,” Nurse explained.
Nurse participated in the Moderna vaccine trials at The George Washington University Hospital in D.C.
She got two injections with one being in September and the other shot being in October.
“That second injection was a little bit uneasy for me. I did get a lot of pain that night,” Nurse recalled.
Nurse said she also had flu-like symptoms after the second shot but felt better within 3 days.
She recognizes the painful history of how the medical community violated the trust of Black Americans in research for years.
Many black people point to examples ranging from when researchers secretly infected Black men with syphilis and withheld treatment in the Tuskegee Experiment, to stories like those of Henrietta Lacks.
Lacks’ cells were unknowingly donated for groundbreaking research and are recognized as the first immortal human cell line.
“There are Black people in these spots today that weren’t during the Tuskegee testing,” Nurse said. “So, we are there. We have shown up for this critical time. We are there with critical solutions.”
As Black people are dying at higher rates from the coronavirus compared to other racial and ethnic groups, Nurse believes it is her duty to speak out and encourage people who look like her to get vaccinated.
“It is important that you give life a chance by taking this vaccine, If you take the vaccine, I don’t know that you’re life is going to be perfect,” she said. “But we know one thing – there will be one less thing to worry about.”