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Many African Americans are not in a hurry to get the COVID-19 vaccine – a long history of medical abuse suggests why

The survey was conducted January 11-18, 2021.Credits: Chart: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: KFFCOVID-19 Vaccine Monitor

get-a-COVID-19-vaccine-rises-to-60-as-confidence-in-research-and-development-process-increases / “> Racial and ethnic groups are most likely to be vaccinated Fewer coronaviruses. Perhaps or definitely the proportion of blacks who said they would shoot has increased over time, but by mid-January, there were two COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States, and blacks. Only 35% of the respondents said they got it as soon as possible or had already been shot.

At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately harmful to blacks, indigenous peoples, and other colored races compared to whites in American society. Black Americans are hospitalized 2.9 times more often than white Americans and 1.9 times more likely to die of COVID-19, so blacks are likely to line up at a blazing speed as soon as vaccines are available. maybe.

But there are reasons for distrust in the black community. It goes beyond what can be attributed to mixed messaging of national COVID-19 responses. And it’s not a simple or only problem of misunderstanding. I am a humanist and bioethicist, studying history, ethics, and literature to understand the health inequalities of race and gender. My study examines the history of unethical and abusive treatments experienced by African Americans in the hands of medical institutions. Based on past experience, there are many good reasons why blacks are not in a hurry to get vaccinated.

Troublesome achievements

Medical institutions in the United States have a long history of unethical treatment of black research subjects. Medical ethicist Harriet A. Washington details some of the worst examples in her book Medical Apartheid. There is now an experiment with the infamous Tuskegee syphilis. In this experiment, the government misunderstood a black male patient as being treated for syphilis, even though he was not actually treated. The study lasted a total of 40 years, even after the development of syphilis treatments in the 1940s.

Perhaps lesser known is James Marion Sims’ unethical and unjustified experiment with a woman enslaved in the United States in the 1800s, giving him the nickname “Father of Modern Gynecology.” It helped to attach. Sims performed experimental bladder-vaginal fistula surgery on enslaved women without anesthesia, or even with the basic standard treatment of the time.

Sims experimented with 17-year-old slave Analka more than 30 times. His decision not to anesthetize was based on the racist assumption that blacks were less painful than whites. This is a deep-rooted belief among today’s healthcare professionals. Historian Deirdre Cooper Owens details the incident and many other ways in which the body of a black woman has been used as a guinea pig in her book Medical Bondage.

Cases of medical fraud and malice continue after the enactment of the Nuremberg Code and after a series of medical ethics principles were developed after World War II and subsequent crimes against humanity.

In 1951, doctors collected cervical cancer cells from a black woman named Henrietta Lacks without permission. Researchers used them to create the first immortal cell cultures and put their offspring on continuous research for years without informed consent. Research journalist Rebecca Skloot details the chain of ethical violations in her book, Henrietta Lacks’ Immortal Life. Despite heightened awareness after the book was published, ethical violations continued when a group of scientists mapped the HeLa genome without the knowledge and consent of her family.

Genomics advances are still being used to revive racial “science” theories. For example, a currently uncovered 2007 study aimed at isolating the so-called “warrior genes” of Maori indigenous men claimed they were genetically “hard-wired” to violence. did. US scientists and the press have jumped in, suggesting that black and Latin men have a genetic predisposition to engage in gang activities.

In her book The Deadly Invention, legal scholar Dorothy E. Roberts explains how such incidents perpetuate the harm of race-based science. The use of flawed inferences contaminated by biological data and racial stereotypes reinforces racist beliefs about blacks. Such logic is purely focused on biological factors, ignoring social and systemic factors that produce negative and unfair health consequences.

Currently, there is ample academic research to uncover these truths about racism in healthcare institutions, but black Americans have several to share and hear stories of medical fraud that they have personally experienced. Just gather around the kitchen table with friends and family.

Current Sustainability of Racism in Healthcare

Their experience by researchers like J. Marion Sims was at the heart of modern gynecological advances, but today black women do not benefit from these advances as much as white women. Black women, to name a few, still have worse gynecologic cancer outcomes, higher deaths, poorer health, and higher birth-related deaths.

When tennis star Serena Williams gave birth, she saw first-hand how black women weren’t believed by medical institutions. If she hadn’t claimed herself in the face of a dismissing medical professional, she might have died of a postpartum blood clot.

Blacks are keenly aware of this history of racism in healthcare and how it continues today, both at the individual and group levels. Stereotypes for black patients continue to influence the care they receive and their medical outcomes, whether as a result of explicit or implicit bias. When investigated over and over again, black Americans do not believe in them, do not prescribe the necessary treatments, including painkillers, and blame them for their health problems. I will report.

And the association between racism and increased illness cases and mortality also applies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overcome these challenges

The issue of ongoing confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine is only the latest sign of racial health inequalities in the United States.

Still, there is a way to start bridging the gap between racial health and mortality in COVID-19. Otherwise, vaccination against blacks may continue to lag in proportion to population size.

An important first step is for healthcare professionals and policy makers to learn these painful histories and develop strategies informed by an understanding of the systematic racism faced by black Americans.


Canada must dismantle anti-black discrimination in medicine


Provided by conversation

This article has been republished from Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please read the original article.conversation

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Many African Americans are not in a hurry to get the COVID-19 vaccine – a long history of medical abuse suggests why

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