By now, it has become abundantly clear that black people have suffered disproportionate mortality due to COVID-19. For example, in Chicago, while blacks made up 42% of cases, they were 56% of the deaths in a recent analysis. In my city of Washington DC, blacks were most recently about 50% ofCOVID-19 diagnoses but represented almost 80% of the deaths! With that in mind, if there were a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine, would you get it? Think about that while I explore this issue.
TRAPPED BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
Black people are trapped between a rock and a hard place when it comes to medical issues. Historically, we have been neglected, and even abused, within medical system. This has ranged from being denied access to medical treatment to being used as guinea pigs in dangerous research.
The most egregious case is the notorious Tuskegee experiment where black men were denied medical treatment for syphilis and simply used to document the natural history as they slowly succumbed to the infection. The study went on for decades before it was forced to stop in the ‘70s. As horrific as it was, it was by no means unique and other groups of people have been exploited in very dangerous medical research, particularly incarcerated men and even active duty military.
MEDICAL SYSTEM MISTRUST
So it should come as no surprise that many of us have great mistrust for the medical system. This has made many blacks reluctant to engage in the medical system and as a result, we often do not get the health advantages of protective interventions including disease screenings, vaccinations and treatments. So through this ironic twist, our justifiable fear ultimately comes back to hurt us.