Two Black medical personnel who received COVID-19 vaccine understand Black America’s skepticism, but say the vaccine is needed

On Monday, Dec. 14, five frontline workers at the University of Maryland Medical Center known as the “first five” received the COVID-19 vaccine. Two of them were Black women — one a nurse and the other a doctor.

“My mother had COVID, my brother had COVID, in addition to my brother-in-law,” Shawn Hendricks, nursing director of medicine at UMMC, told Yahoo News in a video interview. “It took my mother two months to recover in the hospital from COVID. So I knew that COVID had already hit my family and I didn't want it to hit my household too.”

Dr. Sharon Henry, a professor of surgery at UMMC and another one of the first five, said she had no hesitation about receiving the vaccine.

“My thought was, why not be out in front of it?” Henry recalled to Yahoo News. “Why not be one of the first people who do that?”