Earl Ofari Hutchinson
One respondent to a Facebook poll in which I again asked, “Now that there’s the likelihood of a COVID vaccine soon will you get vaccinated?” flatly said, “I won’t be a Guinea pig for whites.”
The grim sickness, hospitalization and death figures from COVID-19 are endlessly looped on nightly newscasts and in print. The figures all show one thing: African Americans are far more likely to get sick, get hospitalized, and to die from a COVID triggered malady than whites. Yet, side by side with the death count, more Blacks than any other group say they won’t get a COVID vaccination. The resistance to a vaccination was confirmed again in a Kaiser Foundation survey. It found that one out three Blacks said they wouldn’t get a shot. The number who said no was unchanged from an August Gallup poll. It found that one-third of Americans said no when asked whether they’d get a COVID vaccination
African American medical groups, civil rights leaders, and elected officials have pleaded, implored, and practically begged African Americans on social media, in press releases, and viral townhalls to get vaccinated. They have produced study after study, and report after report, vouching for the safety of the two vaccines now available. Yet, none of their pleadings has shaken the still many African Americans who say no deal on a shot.
There were dozens of responses in three informal Facebook polls I took on the question of getting vaccinated. Most of those responding were Black. Most again continued to say no. The responses were anecdotal. But more troubling was that the number who said no were much greater than the one out of three who said no in the surveys and polls on the issue.
There’s more. Many Blacks are not just wary of a COVID vaccine. They are wary of almost all vaccines. Countless surveys have shown that Blacks are less likely to get vaccinated as a prevention to just about every infectious disease even though they are far more likely to die from those same diseases than whites.
However, the disproportionate African American death count is hardly the revelation of the ages. The new COVID vaccines may not be the magic bullet to prevent the dread infection. Still, as with any other new vaccine it’s a matter of percentages. If the percentage of those helped by it is high enough then it’s a success. Only time will tell on that. But what time has shown is that Blacks remain the greatest disbelievers in the vaccines, even while they die in greatest numbers from COVID related diseases.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of COVID Politics-Trump’s Deadly Game (Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086Q1VXZJ Free Amazon Read 12/24. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network