Tell It To Me Straight, Doc

Tell It To Me Straight, Doc

By WNYC Studios

Notes from America

Monday, 14 December

Two Black physicians describe the racist history the medical world carries into the COVID-19 vaccine rollout -- and answer listeners’ questions about why we should still get vaccinated. 

A recent Pew Research Center survey, among others, revealed that Black Americans are by far the most likely to know someone who’s been hospitalized or killed by COVID-19. It also found Black people are most reluctant to trust the vaccine. 

When Dr. Brittani M. James “rage tweeted” that she totally gets why her patients are skeptical of the medical system, her thread went viral. She joins Kai to offer insights on the apprehension that many Black Americans are feeling, through the lens of her own experience as a practitioner and a patient.

And Dr. Oni Blackstock, who has served on the frontlines of both COVID-19 and HIV interventions in New York City, responds to callers’ questions about the coming vaccine. What’s in it? How’d it get done so fast? And why should we trust pharmaceutical companies? She’s got answers.

Companion listening for this episode: “Why Covid-19 Is Killing Black People” (April 24, 2020) and “Keep Calm and Check Your Bias” (March 26, 2020)

“The United States of Anxiety” airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC.

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