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WRAL's Dr. Allen Mask receives COVID vaccine, encourages other minorities to get theirs

Posted January 24, 2021 6:23 p.m. EST
Updated January 25, 2021 4:23 a.m. EST

— As coronavirus vaccinations continue, there is still concern about minority communities getting the shot.

It relates back to a history of African Americans being used for experiments, instead of being offered treatment.

On Sunday, Dr. Allen Mask, who has been a member of WRAL's Health team for more than two decades, recorded himself receiving the vaccine.

"Today, I wanted to practice what I preach," he explained. "I get hundreds of calls from my patients having this exact conversation, talking about the risk and benefits of the vaccine."

For 35 years, Mask has been treating patients.

He said in the mind of some of his clients is the Tuskegee Experiments from the 1930s, when Black men were used and abused for a syphilis experiment.

Mask said he understands why some are reluctantly to get the shot.

"We can't be judgemental with people. We have to approach them with honesty and with humility and try to provide access to the vaccine as well," he added.

Mask said that honesty starts with the images of him getting the shot.

He stressed that the benefit outweighs the risk, adding that in North Carolina, 80 percent of people receiving the coronavirus vaccine are white while 10 percent are Black. African-Americans make up 22 percent of the state, but make up 37 percent of coronavirus deaths.

Coronavirus vaccinations in NC

Dr. Mask said the vaccination will save lives and that is one of the reasons he documented his shot.

"I think a number of people are going to die. We are in a 'mayday mayday' situation right now -- an emergency situation with the COVID-19 infection," he added.

Mask said he is hopeful that as President Joe Biden's administration pushes 100 million shots in 100 days that more minorities will sign up for the vaccine.

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