Black physicians’ group forms task force to vet COVID-19 drugs, vaccines

A group of Black physicians has created its own task force to independently vet regulators’ decisions regarding COVID-19 drugs and vaccines in an attempt to safeguard against any potential political influence in federal health agencies, STAT reported. 

Organized by the National Medical Association, the committee intends to help increase uptake of a future COVID-19 vaccine in the African American community, according to Leon McDougle, MD, a family physician and president of the association. 

“It’s necessary to provide a trusted messenger of vetted information to the African American community,” Dr. McDougle told STAT. “There is a concern that some of the recent decisions by the Food and Drug Administration have been unduly influenced by politicians.”

The committee also will evaluate how well clinical trials represent the demographic breakdown of the U.S. and the fairness of government plans to distribute a vaccine. 

“There is a need for this task force. We need a trusted organization to take the lead on this effort,” emergency physician Uché Blackstock, MD, founder and CEO of consulting firm Advancing Health Equity, told STAT. “What we’ve seen in terms of political interference in the FDA and CDC has really undermined what little trust the Black community had.”

The idea for the task force came from Rodney Hood, MD, an internal medicine physician in San Diego, according to STAT. The committee is still figuring out exactly how it will operate. 

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