African Americans do not trust US coronavirus vaccines
Fueled by a history of discrimination and mistreatment by the US medical system, most Black Americans do not trust new coronavirus vaccines and say they won’t be taking it when it becomes widely available.
Fueled by a dark history of medical experimentation and unequal access to care, people in Black and Latino communities struggling with high Covid-19 rates are among those least likely to get vaccinated, health advocates say.
Rates of hospitalization and death from Covid-19 among
Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans are two to four times higher than for
whites, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Over the past couple of weeks, the US has averaged in the neighborhood of 200,000 new COVID-19 infections per day, and about 2,500 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Still, many Americans, especially Black people, are reluctant to get vaccinated. Since the era of American slavery, Black people have faced mistreatment from many medical institutions
“I don’t trust the vaccine,” the 22-year-old says. “I think it’s too soon to have a vaccine.” Said Brianna Clarke, who lives in Willingboro, New Jersey.
She is among a significant number of Black Americans who are skeptical of the US healthcare industry in general and, critically, the COVID-19 vaccines recently developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, more specifically.
For these vaccines to truly effective against the pandemic in the US, there will need to be near universal willingness among Americans to get the shot.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicted recently that about 80% of Americans need to get vaccinated to reach so-called “herd immunity”—the level at which the virus will no longer be able to spread through the population.
There’s a real concern that the distrust public health officials face with Black Americans could impact the country’s ability to reach that goal. According to a recent poll, some 70% of Black Americans believe that people in the US are treated unfairly based on race or ethnicity when they seek medical care.
Researchers have documented many ways that Black patients are treated differently from white patients in the US. For example, in its 2018 annual report, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the US Department Health and Human Services, found that 40% of the measures of healthcare quality the agency assessed were worse for Black people than whites.