While many Americans — especially senior citizens — are thrilled that the COVID-19 vaccine is available, many communities are not ready to embrace the drug.
People of color can remember racist and dangerous times when health policies and scientific experiments focused specially on susceptible Black and brown communities.
America’s history of racism in clinical and medical studies has led to a loss of trust with the federal Government, and it is making many African Americans hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
African Americans have nearly the lowest rates of vaccination among any ethnic group, New CDC figures show that of those who have received at least the first dose of a vaccine, 5.4% are Black people, compared to 60% who are white people, according to WebMD.
Jayla Green, a student at Tallahassee Community College, said: “I don’t trust the vaccine right now. It is too soon for me to take it. I want others to get it and then I’ll decide if I want it.”
From the Tuskegee experiments, one of the most disturbing parts of American medical history to the economic and cultural inequities in the U.S. healthcare system that disproportionately harm Black and Latinx communities, there are very real reasons why some people might look askance with skepticism and fear at the new vaccines, according to healthline.com.
CNN reports that in a study released by the , the NAACP and Unidos US found that only 14% of Black Americans trust that a vaccine will be safe and 18% trust it will be effective.
“Many reasons why African Americans are reluctant to take the vaccine is because of history. Many people refer to the Tuskegee experiment. When we talk to patients they say that it’s too soon and they don’t trust the medical assistance because of the disparity. They feel as if there’s not enough data on the vaccine. They hear a lot about the side effects. But many continue to refer back to the Tuskegee experiment,”Bernice Mercer-Lewis, a nurse manager at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, said.
Worries about the COVID-19 vaccines have made some African Americans reluctant to take the vaccine. Some have said that they would like to wait and see how the first vaccine dose and then they’ll decide.
The Florida Department of Health in Leon County said in a statement: “We are working with community partners and looking into whether access and mistrust about the vaccine could be reasons for vaccine hesitancy. We recognize it will take a whole community approach to address real fears and doubts. Public health awareness campaigns are planned out to include major media campaigns with clear communication about why it’s important to get vaccinated when it becomes available. DOH Leon is committed to participating in coordinated strategies to build vaccine confidence throughout our community.”
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine including answers to some frequently asked questions, visit: