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DIGGING DEEPER PREVIEW: Why Black Americans fear taking the COVID-19 vaccine

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ROCKFORD(WREX) — It's no secret that Americans across the country are fearful of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was approved much quicker than other vaccines and people say they don't know much about it.

But for Black Americans, the fear of the vaccine goes beyond the unknown. It's triggered by trauma created from history.

"The fear that we have is not new, it is over 400 years old," said NIU Professor Laverne Gyant.

Since slavery, African Americans have been subjected to unethical medical practices in the medical world. One of the most famous examples was the Tuskegee Experiment.

From the 1930s to 1970s, 600 black men in Macon County, Alabama, were enrolled in an experiment to research the effects of syphilis by the U.S. Public Health Service. 

What made the experiment unethical is that when a drug treating syphilis was approved in 1947, none of the participants were notified or given the treatment. Thus resulting in long-term effects, including death.

Because of this and other experiences, Black Americans have found themselves scared to get the vaccine.

"We are reluctant because we know the history. I was a child during the Jim Crow era and I know the things they did us unwittingly," said Dyanna Walker.

But what can be done to solve this issue, knowing that Black Americans have been impacted by the Pandemic? 13 WREX digs deeper to find out what can be done on Wednesday on 13 News at 5.

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Lauren Baker

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