How medical racism created vaccine distrust

Two vials of COVID-19 vaccine
Pew Research Center data shows that less than half of Black Americans say they will get the new COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels

Many people consider a COVID-19 vaccine to be the silver bullet for ending a deadly pandemic. But not everyone feels positively about vaccines in general, let alone one that's brand new.

Recent Pew Research Center data show that less than half of Black Americans plan to get the vaccine. A little more than half of Latino and White Americans plan to. But Black and Latino Americans are more likely to contract and die from COVID-19.

For some people of color, the reluctance to be vaccinated is rooted in a generations-long distrust in a racist medical system.

Host Angela Davis talked with two doctors focused on racial equity in health care about the intersection of medicine and race, and what the medical community is doing to rebuild trust within communities of color.


  • Ana Núñez is the vice dean of diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and a professor of medicine.

  • Chyke Doubeni is a clinical epidemiologist and health services researcher at Mayo Clinic. He is also the director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research.

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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