A recent survey on Blackdoctor.org (BDO) revealed a staggering 58% of the respondents wouldn’t take a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it’s available. In addition to 58% saying “no” to the vaccine, 22% reported they would take the vaccine, but had “concerns”. This survey shows how divided the US is right now and demonstrates that a vaccine will not be a silver bullet against COVID-19. In fact, a vaccine may not help the US overcome the Pandemic. It will take a lot more healing to get to that place.
In total, 80% of respondents either said “no” or had “concerns” regarding taking a COVID-19 vaccine with the majority saying “no” because they “didn’t trust the healthcare system”. For any vaccine to work and be validated, it needs to create herd immunity, which is a protective effect created by a significant portion of a community being vaccinated. That leads to the question, “How can the results of a vaccine be considered valid without being taken by the population most affected by it?”
Black Americans represent a disproportionate number of positive cases and deaths associated with coronavirus. These facts make it logical for Black Americans to want to receive a vaccination as soon as it’s available. Unfortunately, there is a long history of distrust between Black Americans and the medical community. This distrust gets exacerbated when the government is involved in the research, creation, and dissemination of the vaccine.
BDO recognizes this distrust is real and warranted. From the Tuskegee Experiment, to Henrietta Lacks, to general biasescausing misdiagnosis, Black Americans don’t use medical care as frequently as mainstream America. This lack of engagement has shown to be consistent, regardless of age or socioeconomic status. To overcome distrust and get more Black Americans to engage in new treatments or vaccinations, BDO recommends the following:
- Information must appear on a trusted platform
- Messaging must be authentic, and the experts should look like them
- Content must also be based on Black Americans’ truths
BDO strives to end racial inequities in medicine and disseminate cultural specific information to its vast database. Any illness or condition affecting Black Americans receives full attention based on the Black patient journey, and provides relevant tips and strategies on how to live a happy and healthy life. BDO will effort to show its audience how to protect themselves from COVID-19.
In the end a a vaccine may not help the US overcome the Pandemic. The country remains divided and distrustful of the government. As people throughout Asia and across the world struggle to understand how the US is in such a bad position with respect to the COVID-19 response, it’s important to understand that they will need a lot more healing than just a vaccine, before they can move on.