Opinion

Racist medical history should not feed fears around Covid vaccine

13 December 2020 - 00:00 By Lindiwe Mazibuko

I have a dear friend and former classmate from my time in the US named Lisa Fitzpatrick, who is also an infectious diseases doctor, a medical epidemiologist and public health specialist. Earlier this year she volunteered to participate in the phase 3 Moderna mRNA-1273 Covid-19 vaccine trial in order to publicly demonstrate her confidence in the science of vaccinations and to offer a counter-narrative to the fear and mistrust which often accompany discussions about vaccination — especially in the US today.

As an African-American medical doctor, Lisa has extensive experience of the levels of mistrust in the American medical establishment by members of that country’s black community. It has been, after all, less than 50 years since the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study was concluded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Pubic Health Service; a diabolical experiment in which 600 African-American men were recruited in Alabama in 1932 and told they would be receiving free health care from the state in exchange for their participation in the study...

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