Solomon Jones | Inquirer.com
The Philly Fighting COVID debacle, where a group of self-described “college kids” with little-to-no medical experience was given a city partnership to run a mass vaccination program, is more than a national embarrassment. It could very well worsen the Black community’s mistrust of the COVID-19 vaccine—a mistrust our community can’t afford.
Having watched for months as Black people died from COVID-19 at nearly three times the rate of white people, there were already some in the Black community who saw the virus as a genocidal racist plot, and the vaccine as a tool meant to finish the job. That kind of mistrust is driven by atrocities like the Tuskegee study, where Black men with syphilis did not receive proper treatment for their illness so doctors could document their agonizing march toward death, or the cruel work of Dr. J. Marion Sims, who developed gynecological techniques while operating on enslaved Black women without anesthesia.
For Black people who see the disproportionate number of Black COVID-19 deaths as an extension of the medical industry’s racist past, the story of a company like Philly Fighting COVID will provide yet another reason to shy away from the vaccination process.