University of Pennsylvania doctor brings transparency to COVID vaccine for Black community

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A doctor at the University of Pennsylvania is using her platform to raise awareness about inequities in health care and show the community the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

"I'm excited, a little bit nervous," Dr. Florencia Greer-Polite said in her video blog as she was about to get her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

She was one of the first people at Penn Medicine to be vaccinated, but it was a shot she wasn't sure she would get.

"I will be honest, I was not originally gung-ho about getting the vaccine," said Polite, who's the Chief of the Generalist Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Like thousands of others, she had reservations about what was unknown. But after doing her research she says, "I was losing sleep about the idea that Black people in this country were dying at higher rates of coronavirus and were not going to take the vaccine."

As the chief of her division at Penn, she chose to lead by example, knowing it could save lives of those who follow.

"The medical system has, quite frankly, over decades and centuries mistreated people of color," she said.

It's something she's bringing attention to. Over the summer she organized hundreds of doctors after the killing of George Floyd for a "White Coats for Black Lives" protest. She leads an anti-racism committee at Penn Medicine and she started her video blog, posted to Penn Medicine's Facebook page, to be transparent about her vaccine experience.

"This is something we're not asking you to do first. The health care professionals are going first. You get to see that we're ok and when the opportunity becomes available to you to get vaccinated, hopefully, you will take advantage of that opportunity," she said.
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