The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched on for over a year now.
Last March, Americans ignorantly thought that the virus would stay in Wuhan, China, leaving us unaffected and free to live our lives. Now here we are, one year and a new president later, still reaping the consequences of poor leadership and lack of unity.
While some states have been on lockdown for much of 2020 and 2021, others have been enjoying the early freedoms of pre-pandemic life. Regardless of the restriction disparity between states, the states are beginning to open back up and lessen their restrictions.
Accompanying looser restrictions are COVID-19 vaccines, which many are tentative about receiving. Conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine activists are largely responsible for the spread of misinformation regarding the vaccines. There are claims of microchips in the vaccine, and a theory about a “plandemic.”
According to webmd.com, leading anti-vaccine activists have referred to grand conspiracies such as the “Plandemic” or “The Great Reset,” which is a combination of conspiracy theories based on the idea that the pandemic has created such a state of shock that the world will be turned into a high-tech dictatorship that will take away your freedom forever.
Mistrust in the government is not at all futile, as previous leadership has proven to be untrustworthy. People have a right to inquire about medicine. However, anti vaccine activists are pushing conspiracies and it is slowly blurring the lines of sanity.
While some Americans are hesitant about receiving the vaccine, there is no demographic with more reasonable skepticism than the Black community. Black people often straddle between trust and mistrust in the government and medicine, as we have long been the test subjects for experimentation and subject to mistreatment.
From Henrietta Lacks’ cells being utilized without her consent to the high maternal mortality rate in Black women, there are sufficient grounds for mistrust.
However, the most common example and the basis of medical mistrust in the Black community is the Tuskegee Experiment. In accordance with www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, “the Tuskegee syphilis study is widely recognized as a reason for mistrust because of the extent and duration of deception and mistreatment and the study’s impact on human subject review and approval.
For those unaware of the details of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, the study took place in 1932 and was originally called the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. It involved a total of 600 Black men, 399 with syphilis and 201without syphilis. The experiment was conducted without proper information or consent of the test subjects. The subjects were in fact lied to about what the study consisted of. The men were told that they were being treated for “bad blood,” a frequently used term to describe an array of ailments, including syphilis, anemia and fatigue.
Researchers also did not provide treatment for the subjects.
Black people’s skepticism can be expounded upon with a simple reflection of history. So it is completely understandable as to why we are hesitant. However, the COVID-19 virus has had international effects on the population. The virus has not been partial to one race and it will continue its reign of adverse effects and death if we do not gain herd immunity.
This statement is not meant as a scare tactic but an application of common sense. Children have had to receive vaccines before attending school for decades. The vaccination process is nothing new. I strongly suggest that people conduct proper research before making inflated statements of microchips and complete government control.
Overall, the decision to get vaccinated is a complex one for Black people. But whatever decision is made, it should be made based in fact.