MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Before the COVID vaccine could ever be shipped, it had to be tested. Many people signed up for the trial testing. Some of those people were right here in Memphis.
WREG-TV spoke with Dr. Denise Mustiful-Martin, who is a dentist, about why she made the decision to be one of the trial participants in testing the new Pfizer vaccine three months ago.
“Yeah, my daughter and I took it and we had no problems. We had no side effects, we had no symptoms,” Mustiful-Martin said. “It was it was actually a good experience for us. I’m so glad we did it.”
Before the vaccine is distributed, it had to be tested. Mustiful-Martin said she was glad to sign up.
“You came for the consultation, then you had your first injection,” Mustiful-Martin said. “Then they wait a couple of weeks, and then they did testing regularly. They did COVID testing regularly. We had to journal, weekly, if we had any symptoms. And then, about two weeks later we came for our second dose.”
She added, “I don’t know if I got the placebo or if my daughter got the placebo. Of course, you know we’re trying to get that. We’re trying to figure that out.”
But she said her daughter was later exposed to COVID, but never got it.
“I’m guessing that I have the placebo, and that she actually got the vaccine,” Mustiful-Martin said.
Mustiful-Martin said as an African American doctor, she knows the concerns about the vaccine in the Black community, after the Tuskegee Experiment, where poor African Americans men were deceivingly enrolled in a study on syphilis.
“The Tuskegee study. Well, back then it was a story, and it was awful. And it was a tragedy, and a travesty,” Mustiful-Martin said. “But now we have African Americans who are guiding the study directing the study, implementing the study. And from that point in time we have improved.”
She encouraged people to read about the vaccine and talk with health care professionals. She just hopes her efforts to be an active participant in the health care process will inspire others.
“We did it for the good of the community,” she said.