In this interview, Prof. Leon McDougle, MD, MPH, president of the National Medical Association (NMA), speaks to Medical News Today about vaccine hesitancy among Black Americans and some of the initiatives that are successfully tackling this issue.
In November 2020, just 42% of Black Americans were willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Given that Black adults are, according to some studies, 3 times more likely to contract the new coronavirus than white adults, the high level of vaccine hesitancy among this population is of particular concern.
Much of this vaccine hesitancy is deeply rooted in centuries of oppression and white supremacist beliefs that informed medically exploitative practices against Black folks. With its long history of medical experimentation and other abusive practices, the medical establishment has “earned” the distrust of many Black Americans.