Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Bishop Michael Goings and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Dillon Herald.
Like many African- Americans, I had mixed emotions about getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
I will share why many Blacks are grappling with that decision later in my article.
I was originally going to present another very relevant article that targets a matter quite different from what I am considering today. However, due to the importance and nature of our issue today, I feel a sense of urgency to share this information with you that you are reading.
Before I can make my argument on why African- Americans should get vaccinated, it is necessary that I first share some of the common reasons why so many are hesitant, skeptical, and some downright, resistant.
The Guinea Pig Complex
Certainly, at the very top of the reasons why African- Americans have mixed emotions about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is rooted in systemic and structural racism that the American science and research community historically and secretly practiced.
The Tuskegee Experiment (in which hundreds of African- American men in Alabama went untreated for syphilis without their informed consent) is the most notable case that comes to mind.
Then there was the secret military experiment in the 1950s that left Georgians wary of vaccines. The experiment that took place in Savannah, Georgia was code named “Operation Big Buzz.” This covert operation was launched by “The Chemical Corps” of the United States Army. They released swarms of mosquitoes (the type notorious for transmitting yellow fever) in African-American communities in Georgia and Florida. The experiment was done to see if the infected mosquitoes could be employed in biological warfare. (The declassified military document is available online.)
These are only two of the historical reasons why many African-Americans are skeptical, reluctant, and rejectful of being vaccinated. It is my prayer and hope that all those who fit in the previous categories will overcome and consent to take the vaccine in order to help in the battle to overcome this very contagious and deadly pandemic. Let me list and briefly comment on some important reasons why African-Americans should be vaccinated.
Blacks are Disproportionately Catching and Dying From COVID-19
If the facts and statistics are to be considered in our discussion (as they certainly must), no one can put forth a reasonable argument that would dispel or refute the urgency of African-Americans getting the COVID-19 vaccination. Blacks only account for around thirteen percent of the population of this nation. However, due to systemic and structural biases that are in perhaps every aspect of America, African- Americans do not get the same medical consideration and care as do their White counterparts. This bias and unequal policy and practice of the medical profession toward Blacks has been the primary reason why we are disproportionately catching and dying from COVID-19.
According to the statistics though, Blacks only account for thirteen percent of the population. We are three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than our White counterparts, who presently constitute a little over sixty percent of the population.
To Protect Your
Another primary reason why African-Americans should get vaccinated is to protect the people that live in their bubble or home environment. Many of the people who have contracted and even died from the virus caught it from loved ones who brought it home to them without the knowledge that they had the virus or were asymptomatic.
This is one of the reasons why I am going to get vaccinated a few days from the actual writing of this material that you are presently reading.
Avoiding Quarantining Yourself If You Have Been Exposed
One of the benefits of being vaccinated could probably afford those who have received the vaccine was recently discovered.
Those who did the scientific research and study are reporting that their findings concluded that those who have received the vaccine do not necessarily have to isolate when they have been exposed to the virus. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a renown surgeon and commentator with CNN cable news network, was the one who broke the news.
Throughout this column, I have presented information and considerations why African- Americans should be willing to get vaccinated. I completely understand why so many Blacks are reluctant to get vaccinated. More than any other ethnic group in America, we have been the victims, the guinea pigs of bias and racism in the field of scientific research.
However, in spite of this historical fact, we must overcome our fears, our hesitancy, and even for some of us, our paranoia about taking the vaccine.
There is too much at stake for us to allow these things to stand in the way of us getting herd immunity and the victory over this fatal pandemic that has taken the lives of over four hundred and eighty thousand American citizens.
I believe that as African- Americans overcome the fear and negatives surrounding taking the polio vaccine in the early 1950s, we must likewise do the same concerning COVID-19.
In my opinion, given the fact that African-Americans are gravely and disproportionately affected by this microscopic menace, it would perhaps be culpable for those African- American who qualify to be vaccinated to refuse to get it.