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NEW ORLEANS— The presidents of Xavier and Dillard Universities announced that they are participating in a coronavirus vaccine trial. They’ve both been injected with the possible vaccine.

What’s getting some attention is the university presidents encouraging students, faculty, and alumni to join them.

Dr. Walter L. Kimbrough, Dillard University’s President said, “We know that if we’re not a part of the research studies, we don’t know if the vaccine will work for us because we do have some unique genetic features. I tell people I have a sickle cell trait. Sickle Cell Anemia is disease that overwhelmingly impacts black people so we do know there is some differences.”

Dillard University President Dr. Walter L. Kimbrough speaks about the coronavirus vaccine trial (WGNO-TV)

Kimbrough believes people of color have a role in helping find a cure for coronavirus. The adverse affects of the virus on blacks has been widely reported, and it’s come as a suprise to some that the heads of the two New Orleans HBCU’s are encouraging supporters and students to participate in the vaccine trial.

There has been some blowback online, but Kimbrough says, “The key word in our letter is ‘consider.’ Think about it, ponder, sleep on it , that’s all we’re saying”

The vaccine trial is being conducted by Phizer and Oschner Health in Louisiana. Kimbrough also acknowledged their responsibility and the need for black institutions to be involved.

“They gotta get it right and then black folks gotta be willing to be involved but we’ve gotta get more black organizations like the HBCU medical schools to be involved in doing the work. We’re just so underrepresented in these studies, it’s gonna be horrible to have a vaccine for a disease that overwhelmingly impacts us and it doesn’t work,” said Kimbrough.

Dr. Kimbrough has taken the first of two shots for the vaccine trial an he says he hasn’t experienced any side effects.