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Tyler Perry Receives Vaccine, Consults Experts in New BET Special About Black Community and COVID

Benjamin VanHoose
·3-min read

Tyler Perry is rolling up his sleeves to spread awareness about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.

With a new informative BET project titled COVID-19 Vaccine and the Black Community: A Tyler Perry Special, the filmmaker, 51, receives the coronavirus vaccine on-camera and ask doctors questions in order to help de-stigmatize vaccinations amid the ongoing pandemic. Perry admitted during a recent CBS This Morning appearance that he was skeptical at first and that he understands the skepticism in the Black community.

"If you look at our history in this country, with the Tuskegee experiment, Henrietta Lacks and things like that, it raises flags for us as African American people. So I understand why there's a healthy skepticism about the vaccine," he said.

Perry said prior to learning more about the technology that produced the vaccines so quickly, he "didn't really feel like he could trust it." But he explained, "Once I got all the information, found out the research, I was very, very happy."

Opting for the Pfizer vaccine, Perry said he had no reactions to the first dose earlier this month, and after the follow-up second round he had on Monday, Perry said he "woke up with some aches and pains, but I took some Advil about an hour ago and I feel fine now."

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Despite slight aches and pains, Perry assured that he has no regrets in taking the vaccines, given the alternative.

"Here's what you don't understand: the problem with this COVID-19 virus is you never know how it's going to affect you," he said. "I've had people die that I know, people who have had longterm health issues that I know. So you're making the choice of getting the vaccine ... and reducing your chances of ending up in the ICU by 100 percent."

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"To allay your concerns that I jumped the line know that I am in the approved age group," Martha Stewart said

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"I think it's important for people to know that if you take your chances with COVID, you never know how it's going to affect you, and it could affect your longterm health," said Perry.

As of Wednesday morning, Jan. 27, at least 19,902,237 people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of either Pfizer's or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. Only 3,481,921 people have gotten both doses.

COVID-19 Vaccine and the Black Community: A Tyler Perry Special airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on BET and BET Her.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.