Letter Targeting ‘Minorities' in NY Spreads Misinformation About COVID Vaccine

Ida Seigal

September 15, 2020

Originally published in 4 New York on September 15, 2020.

Some Long Island residents woke up this week and found a letter on their doors warning them that COVID-19 vaccines are going to be tested on "minorities."

There is not any truth in the letter that said the coronavirus vaccine is dangerous and "the government is looking for minorities to experiment on." The large "WARNING" letter said, "parents who will be sending their children to school this fall should be mindful of any and all documents or waivers they’re asked to sign." It is intended to scare and intimidate people, local leaders in Manhasset said.

State Senator Anne Kaplan says she’s getting complaints about the letter from a handful of towns on the north shore.

 

"People are putting false information out there and trying to scare parents. Scare parents in a way that they won’t access the services that are available to them. And the services that they need for their children," Kaplan said.

The senator has gotten the Nassau County police involved and they are investigating.

Residents in Manhasset say they're upset to hear that the author of the letter seems to be targeting low-income parents.

"It's unfortunate because they’re probably going through a lot right now so I think as a community as a unit we all need to come together," said Lexie Peterka.

So far, authorities have no leads on who might be behind the letter campaign or what their true motives might be. In the meantime, they are urging people who receive the letter to contact the authorities and take comfort that nothing in that letter is actually true.

U.S. health officials and drugmakers have been accelerating the development of vaccine candidates by investing in multiple stages of research. Even though doing so could be for naught if the vaccine ends up not being effective or safe, there's no evidence that researchers are only targeting certain groups of people.

Pfizer, one of three companies currently in late-stage testing for a vaccine, said Sunday that a coronavirus vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year if found to be safe and effective. The other two companies researching for a vaccine are Moderna and AstraZeneca.