By Kevin Seraaj
You see the news reports and you hear that infections are continuing to mount. And so, too are the deaths. You’re curious about the vaccine, and you think you might need to be safe rather than sorry, but you have chosen to instead adopt the “wait and see” approach. You think that maybe if you just hold out a little longer, and “wait on it,” you’ll either hear something that will change your mind– or you’ll breeze through this whole pandemic thing without anything ever happening to you. After all, 98% of the people who get infected fully recover.
Most people in the “wait and see” crowd prefer to wait because they are suspicious of the vaccine. The U.S. government and the whole healthcare industry have a sketchy history of experimenting on people without their informed consent. Particularly black people. So this skepticism is well deserved.
In 1932, the Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study— probably the most egregious example of the “physician do no harm” conundrum. Blacks were not told the problem was a general disease and were not given penicillin once it was developed as a treatment in the 1930s. Instead, doctors watched the disease progress and ravage their patients bodies for a period of 40 years.
Other examples exist, but this one cannot be disputed.
Small wonder, then, that black people in particular, prefer to “wait and see.”
And it might seem at first glance like a safe position to take, but the anecdotal evidence is clear: there are documented disproportionate rates of COVID-19 illness and death in black communities all across America. You can find them in the nearly 600,000 people who didn’t recover from their infections.
“Wait and see” might be a better strategy if it were not for the healthcare inequities we face.
Clearly, the Trump administration– with its constant dismissal of the virus as a hoax and a non-issue– did nothing to make healthcare equity in this pandemic was a priority. President Biden has taken a vastly different approach. But don’t take my word for it.
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