SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — When a COVID-19 vaccine is available will you take it? Research shows about 20 percent of Americans do not plan on getting it. The study also shows Black people are the most skeptical.
“I’m going to be honest. I would be very, very suspect; very, very skeptical,” said Menelik Fombi.
64-year-old Menelik Fombi told FOX13 if a vaccine is released for COVID-19 he will not be at the front of the line to get it. And he isn’t the only one.
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A survey by researchers at the University of Miami found about two-thirds of Americans say they would get the vaccine.
"It would have to be after six months of them giving it to other people. And I would need some kind of study," said Fombi.
Throughout the pandemic, statistics show Black people disproportionately infected with and dying from the coronavirus. Yet the study shows Black people are more likely to shun a COVID vaccine, with only 44 percent saying they would get it.
“We’re seeing more people as a whole having a general distrust in the medical system, but for African Americans, this coupled with poor experiences and medical environments and cultural memory really creates a scenario we have now,” said Kristie Lipford, Visiting Assistant Professor of Urban Studies.
One of the cultural memories Rhodes College Professor Kristie Lipford is referring to is the 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. The study involved 600 black men, some with the infection and some without.
"There was penicillin released, but the men were not given penicillin even though they knew it was a cure, which led to a great distrust among African Americans," said Lipford.
That's why Lipford believes the survey showed more black people agreed with statements like the dangers of the vaccine are being hidden by researchers and the virus is being used to force a dangerous and unnecessary drug on people.
"It's a very complex issue. African American's distrust is warranted. We have to stay informed and do our research," said Lipford.
There are several COVID-19 vaccine trials underway. Researchers hope to have a vaccine by the end of the year or early 2021.
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