Our community as a whole needs to do better. The World Health Organization has said countries need to inoculate 65 to 70% of their populations to achieve herd immunity. Some experts say it must reach 80% for the U.S. economy to return to normal.
The African American Health Equity Task Force was formed a few years ago in Buffalo to call attention to the health care disparities between different races and work toward solutions. In addition to the toll that Covid-19 has inflicted in minority neighborhoods this year, knowledge of U.S. medical history causes distrust among Black Americans.
One infamous example is the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee, which lasted from the 1930s to 1972. The study in Alabama tracked 600 Black men infected with syphilis, but offered them no treatment. The study, performed with the knowledge of the U.S. government, did physical and emotional damage to a generation of Black men.
Nothing can undo the horrible effects of that experiment, but using the memory of events such as that as a reason to avoid being vaccinated would be self-defeating.
“The African American American community needs to understand that 2020 is not 1930 or 1940,” Dr. Reed Tuckson, the leader of the Black Coalition Against Covid-19 in Washington, D.C., told NBC News. “There were no African American physicians or scientists or health policy leaders in the past; today is a different situation.”
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