“I don’t know, I don’t understand,” the 85-year-old said. – I want to know where you come from.
Cunningham, who lives in Hobson City (AL), is among Black Americans who hardly believe in doctors and the Covid-19 vaccines recently developed by pharmaceutical companies.
Alabama is beating the coronavirus, with the state’s 14-day positivity rate barely exceeding 29%. In Calhoun County, where Hobson City sits, that rate is 37%.
Still, older residents like Cunningham don’t even take the Covid-19 test.
America Because of the racism in medical research and the lack of trust in the federal government, some Black Americans and Latinos are reluctant to administer the vaccine.
Health and community leaders fear vaccination hesitation could result in some black and Latin American Americans not being vaccinated as Covid-19 continues to disproportionately hit their communities.
However, Latin American Americans were more optimistic: 34% said they believed the vaccination would be safe and 40% believed it would be effective.
Much of their hesitation stems from distrust of the federal government and the nation’s history of racism in medical research and health care, the study found.
Carlton Gordon also says he will not take the vaccine immediately.
Gordon, a black father who lives outside of Chicago, says he is concerned about putting the vaccine on the market and that not enough black people have been tested to ensure it is safe.
“I’d rather not try to turn to a vaccine that, frankly, isn’t quite proven,” Gordon, 34, said. “If this vaccination proves effective once it’s spread more widely to people, we can certainly evaluate it and change my perspective.”
Communities need to start planning information campaigns and town halls to discuss how and why vaccination works, Harris said.
“I’m sure a black man is talking to a black man,” Harris said. “You’re not going to suddenly trust to be distrustful in a group of people just because science says so.”
Fear of “guinea pigs”
Ernest Grant, president of the American Nurses Association, took part in a vaccine experiment this fall in the hope that it will overcome fears surrounding vaccination in the black community.
Grant, who is black, said he took two required doses of the vaccine – the first on 9 September and the second on 5 October – and experienced mild side effects such as tiredness and chills.
Although the study is double-blind, which means researchers and participants don’t know who is actually getting the real vaccine or the placebo, Grant says he is confident the vaccine is safe. He suggests that other black leaders take the vaccine to share their experiences and knowledge with the community.
“I’m sure you shouldn’t hesitate about taking the vaccine after it goes public,” Grant said. “At some point, there’s always the possibility that this (Covid-19) could happen to you, and if I know there is a cure that could potentially save you from that, I think I’d go for the cure.”
Still, it is still difficult for some black people to trust health care providers because of their racial bias.
Carmen Bailey (Cleveland, OH) said she was diagnosed with Covid-19 in April and avoided medical help because doctors had mistreated her before.
Bailey, who continues to suffer side effects from Covid-19 in her heart, lungs and kidneys, said she refused to give the vaccine.
“We don’t know the side effects,” Bailey, 52, said. “I just really feel that at this point … the people who are going to give this vaccine are guinea pigs.”
History has left a dark cloud for some black people.
Black people who have been enslaved have also been used by doctors historically to test drugs and surgeries that have caused health complications or death.
Nevertheless, black doctors have been touring the vaccine in recent weeks.
Last month, the Black Coalition against COVID published a love letter signed by eight renowned black doctors encouraging black people to take part in vaccination trials and take the vaccination as soon as it proves safe.
“We know that our collective role in creating the right vaccine for black people – and which we trust – has an impact on our survival,” the doctors wrote.
The black shepherds also united to share information about the vaccination.
Sheffield said he was willing to be among the first black people to release the vaccine.
“We have a great job of convincing people to give the vaccine,” Sheffield said. “And only we (black leaders) can carry that message.”
New York-based black leaders, including Sharpton, launched a task force this week to address concerns about the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine to the black community and vaccine safety.
Many in the Latin community do not take the vaccine because of their distrust of the federal government, activists say.
Lack of access is the other half of the battle
Carreon said Latin American people expect information from their trusted leaders and organizations about vaccination trial data, side effects, and where to get the vaccine safely in their neighborhood.
“Historically, there has been no significant information in the community to help them be confident in the health care system,” Carreon said. “We want to ensure that information is communicated in clear, simple and clear words.”
However, gaining the trust of black and Latin Americans is half the battle.
Many people in colorful, poor, and urban areas do not have a doctor or health facility near their home. They also miss delivery.
Existing clinics in city centers such as Chicago and Atlanta are worried that they will not have the resources to reach all patients after the vaccine is introduced to the population.
Earlier this year, some ran out of personal protective equipment and Covid-19 tests.
Willding said his clinic is not equipped with community information, vaccine storage and other logistics needed to get two doses of vaccine for each patient.
He is also concerned that his patients, especially single parents and indispensable workers, will not be able to get their families to the clinic twice.
“Covid-19 has highlighted something that safety net health care providers have always known, and that is inequality in access to health care,” Willding said. “When we talk about a fair approach to the distribution of vaccines, free and charitable health centers must be considered in this approach.”
Breanna Lathrop, who heads the Good Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta, is on the same ship.
Lathrop said he needs funding for syringes and needles. You also need help convincing patients that the vaccine is safe and necessary.
“I think people are already feeling scared and overwhelmed by this,” Lathrop said. “We’re talking about their issues and we want them to have a good time. But when you’re talking about suddenly vaccinating hundreds of people, I can’t sit with hundreds of people and I can’t continue that conversation.”
CNN’s Laura Dolan, Elizabeth Cohen and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.