NBC News reported that two presidents of historically Black colleges and universities, Drs. Walter M. Kimbrough of Dillard University and Dr. C. Reynold Verret of Xavier University of Louisiana, “stunned their campuses when they announced in a joint message that they had participated in a vaccine trial for COVID-19 and then encouraged students to do the same.”
Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough
According to NBC News, this announcement “immediately conjured up conversations about a common distrust of medical institutions among Black Americans, stemming from an extended list of past malfeasance, especially the study of untreated syphilis among Black men, also known as the Tuskegee experiment.”
However, Verret told the news outlet that it is important that African Americans participate in trials.
Verret insisted that he and Kimbrough “were not making a political statement by participating in the trial, but instead they were making clear the need for Black people to be part of the effort to reach herd immunity.”