In recent news, it’s been reported by CNBC that the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) is looking for states to “speed approvals so coronavirus vaccine sites are ready by Nov. 1.” Some of you may have also heard that the vaccine in development has been put on pause after a British trial participant suffered from neurological symptoms, according to Reuters.
Yeah, I don’t think so. For reasons that I will delve into in this article, vaccination trials usually don’t go over well, especially with Black people. The reason that I am about to present is why I won’t be getting any Covid-19 vaccinations until there is beyond valid proof that the vaccinations are effective. Here’s why you should be just as cautious as I am.
In 1932, an experiment known as the Tuskegee Experiment began in order to help treat syphilis in Black men. Six hundred Black men, most of whom were sharecroppers and had never visited a doctor, were recruited at the promise of free medical care. According to History.com, “The men were monitored by health workers but only given placebos such as aspirin and mineral supplements, despite the fact penicillin became the recommended treatment for syphilis in 1947… In order to track the disease’s full progression, researchers provided no effective care as the men died, went blind or insane or experienced other severe health problems due to their untreated syphilis.” In July 1972, the story was reported by Jean Heller who had learned of the experiment from a friend, and soon after the study was forced to shut down. By then, 28 participants had perished from syphilis, 100 more had passed away from related complications, at least 40 spouses had been diagnosed with it, and the disease had been passed to 19 children at birth.
This, in combination with the well known fact that minorities, specifically Black women are not always taken seriously when reporting symptoms to the doctor, make any vaccination quite unappealing to anyone who fits this background, myself included. This is bad for the fact that minority communities have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus and are the least likely groups to seek out a vaccination, even though their fears of government issued vaccinations are beyond justified.
Even if the COVID-19 vaccination is released, many won’t be up for taking it. The government is going to have to win a whole lot of trust from minorities in order for that to happen. To anyone who feels inclined to get that vaccine, I offer this advice:
Do your research.
Have a contingency plan.
By Joi Belcher, Junior, Brooks College Prep