Why Many Black Americans Changed Their Minds About Covid Shots

Of note, both the hesitancy and the means taken to overcome it:

By the time vaccines for the coronavirus were introduced late last year, the pandemic had taken two of Lucenia Williams Dunn’s close friends. Still, Ms. Dunn, the former mayor of Tuskegee, contemplated for months whether to be inoculated.

It was a complicated consideration, framed by the government’s botched response to the pandemic, its disproportionate toll on Black communities and an infamous 40-year government experiment with which her hometown is often associated.

“I thought about the vaccine most every day,” said Ms. Dunn, 78, who finally walked into a pharmacy this summer and rolled up her sleeve for a shot, convinced after weighing with her family and doctor the possible consequences of remaining unvaccinated.

“What people need to understand is some of the hesitancy is rooted in a horrible history, and for some, it’s truly a process of asking the right questions to get to a place of getting the vaccine.”

In the first months after the vaccine rollout, Black Americans were far less likely than white Americans to be vaccinated. In addition to the difficulty of obtaining shots in their communities, their hesitancy was fueled by a powerful combination of general mistrust of the government and medical institutions, and misinformation over the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

But a wave of pro-vaccine campaigns and a surge of virus hospitalizations and deaths this summer, mostly among the unvaccinated and caused by the highly contagious Delta variant, have narrowed the gap, experts say. So, too, have the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of a vaccine and new employer mandates. A steadfast resistance to vaccines in some white communities may also have contributed to the lessening disparity.

While gaps persist in some regions, by late September, according to the most recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a roughly equal share of Black, white and Hispanic adult populations — 70 percent of Black adults, 71 percent of white adults and 73 percent of Hispanic adults — had received at least one vaccine dose. A Pew study in late August revealed similar patterns. Federal data shows a larger racial gap, but that data is missing demographic information for many vaccine recipients.

Since May, when vaccines were widely available to a majority of adults across the country, monthly surveys by Kaiser have shown steady improvement in vaccination rates among Black Americans.

How the racial gap was narrowed — after months of disappointing turnout and limited access — is a testament to decisions made in many states to send familiar faces to knock on doors and dispel myths about the vaccines’ effectiveness, provide internet access to make appointments and offer transportation to vaccine sites.

In North Carolina, which requires vaccine providers to collect race and ethnicity data, hospital systems and community groups conducted door-to-door canvassing and hosted pop-up clinics at a theme park, a bus station and churches. Over the summer, the African American share of the vaccinated population began to more closely mirror the African American share of the general population.

In Mississippi, which has one of the country’s worst vaccination rates and began similar endeavors, 38 percent of people who have started the vaccine process are Black, a share that is roughly equal to the Black share of Mississippi’s population.

And in Alabama, public awareness campaigns and rides to vaccination sites helped transform dismal inoculation rates. A store owner and county commissioner in Panola, a tiny rural town near the Mississippi border, led the effort to vaccinate nearly all of her majority Black community.

Today, about 40 percent of Black Alabama residents — up from about 28 percent in late April — have had at least one dose, a feat in a state that has ranked among the lowest in overall vaccination rates and highest in per capita deaths from Covid-19. About 39 percent of white people in the state have had one dose, up from 31 percent in late April.

Health officials and community leaders say that those who remain unvaccinated have pointed to concerns about how quickly the vaccines were developed and what their long-term health effects might be, plus disinformation that they contain tracking devices or change people’s DNA. The damage wrought by the government-backed trials in Tuskegee, in which Black families were misled by health care professionals, also continues to play a role in some communities, helping to explain why some African Americans have still held out.

“It’s less about saying, ‘This racial ethnic group is more hesitant, more unwilling to get vaccinated,’ and more about saying, ‘You know, this group of people in this given area or this community doesn’t have the information or access they need to overcome their hesitancy,’” said Nelson Dunlap, chief of staff for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

When the U.S. Public Health Service began what it called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” 600 Black men — 399 with syphilis and 201 without the disease — were told they would be treated for so-called bad blood in exchange for free medical exams, meals and burial insurance. In reality, treatment was withheld. Even after penicillin was discovered as an effective treatment, most did not receive the antibiotic.

The experiment began in 1932 and did not stop until 1972, and only after it was exposed in a news article. The surviving men and the heirs of those who had died were later awarded a settlement totaling about $10 million, and the exposure of the study itself eventually led to reforms in medical research. Still, the damage endured.

“Few families escaped the study. Everyone here knows someone who was in the study,” said Omar Neal, 64, a radio show host and former Tuskegee mayor who counts three relatives in the study and who wavered on a vaccine before finally getting one, his mind changed by the rising number of deaths. “And the betrayal — because that is what the study was — is often conjured whenever people are questioning something related to mistrusting medicine or science.”

Rueben C. Warren, director of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University, said the study served as a real example in the long line of medical exploitation and neglect experienced by Black Americans, eroding trust in the government and health care systems.

“The questions being asked about the vaccine should be understood in the larger context of historic inequities in health care,” Dr. Warren said. “The hope, of course, is they finally decide to get the vaccine.”

A national campaign led by the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative, a coalition of experts, tackled the hesitation. This summer, a short-form documentary including descendants of the men in the Tuskegee study was added to the campaign.

When Deborah Riley Draper, who created the short-form documentary, interviewed descendants of the Tuskegee study, she was struck by how shrouded it was in myths and misconceptions, such as the false claim that the government had injected the men with syphilis.

“The descendants’ message was clear that African Americans are as much a part of public health as any other group and we need to fight for access and information,” she said.

In Macon County, Ala., which has a population of about 18,000 and is home to many descendants of the Tuskegee trials, about 45 percent of Black residents have received at least one vaccine dose. Community leaders, including those who are part of a task force that meets weekly, attribute the statistic, in part, to local outreach and education campaigns and numerous conversations about the difference between the Tuskegee study and the coronavirus vaccines.

For months, Martin Daniel, 53, and his wife, Trina Daniel, 49, resisted the vaccines, their uncertainty blamed in part on the study. Their nephew Cornelius Daniel, a dentist in Hampton, Ga., said he grew up hearing about the research from his uncle, and saw in his own family how the long-running deception had sown generational distrust of medical institutions.

Mr. Daniel, 31, said he overcame his own hesitation in the spring because the risks of working in patients’ mouths outweighed his concerns.

His uncle and aunt reconsidered their doubts more slowly, but over the summer, as the Delta variant led to a surge in hospitalizations across the South, the Daniels made vaccination appointments for mid-July. Before the date arrived, though, they and their two teenage children tested positive for the coronavirus.

On July 6, the couple, inseparable since meeting as students on the campus of Savannah State University, died about six hours apart. Their children are now being raised by Mr. Daniel and his wife, Melanie Daniel, 32.

“We truly believe the vaccine would have saved their lives,” Ms. Daniel said.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/us/black-americans-vaccine-tuskegee.html

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 13 October Update

The latest charts, compiled 13 October. Canadians fully vaccinated 73.2 percent, higher than USA 57.2 percent and the UK 67.6 percent).

Vaccinations: Minor changes in Canada, with Ontario ahead of the Canadian North. France and Italy are now ahead of the UK, Japan is ahead of the Prairies, and Sweden and Australia are ahead of the USA. China fully vaccinated 75 percent (unchanged), India 20 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: UK now has more than California, and the Canadian North has more than the Philippines. The chart also shows the number of infections in Alberta starting to level off.

Deaths: New York and the USA have more infections than Italy, with California having more than France. Alberta deaths, along with the Prairies albeit to a lesser extent, continue to climb.

Vaccinations: Alberta vaccinations have surpassed the Prairies.

Weekly

Infections:

Deaths per million:

#COVID19 Immigration Effects: August Update

  • IRCC is well on the way to meeting its 2021 target of some 400,000 Permanent Residents: To date 221,360 Jan-Aug 2021 compared to 228,410 in 2019, with close to 40,000 in July and August. The vast majority are transitioning from temporary residency, primarily the PGWP and IMP.
  • Great percentage increase is, not surprisingly, with respect to Afghans, both in terms of applications (from an average of 200 in the first six months of the year to close to 8,000 in August) and admissions (from an average of 170 to over 1,000).
  • The number of Temporary Residents/IMP continues to increase, particularly with respect to “Canadian interests” (post-graduate employment accounting for more than half, spouses of skilled workers accounting for 9 percent, and intra-corporate transferees 3 percent). On the other hand, the number of Temporary Foreign Workers Program decreased, reflecting lower demand in the agriculture sector.
  • Applications for study permits have largely recovered from pre-pandemic levels (down only 5 percent), as have the number of study permits issued albeit to a lessor extent (down 13 percent).
  • Asylum Claimants slightly increased but still more than three-quarters down from pre-pandemic levels.
  • The number of new citizens seems to be stuck around 9-10,000 per month, compared to pre-pandemic numbers of about 20,000. 
  • Visitor Visas issued increased sharply from monthly average of 4,200 in the first six months of the year to close to 40,000 in August, likely reflecting increased vaccinations and reduced travel restrictions.

Antisemitic rhetoric continues to be used by some opponents of COVID-19 measures

Unfortunately, not all that surprising:

Belle Jarniewski leaned back from her computer, seething with anger after she finished watching a video on Reddit showing a Winnipeg restaurateur accosting public health enforcement officers.

“I’m still shaking after listening to that rant. That was unbelievable,” she said.

The video shows Shea Ritchie, the owner of Chaise Lounge locations on Corydon Avenue and Provencher Boulevard, speaking with officers giving him tickets on Sept. 24 for allowing diners who choose not to be vaccinated to dine inside his restaurant.

Source: Antisemitic rhetoric continues to be used by some opponents of COVID-19 measures

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 6 October Update

The latest charts, compiled 6 Octoober as overall rates in Canada increase slightly due to the variant. Canadians fully vaccinated 72.4 percent, higher than USA 56.7 percent and the UK 67.4 percent).

Vaccinations: Minor changes in Canada, Japan now ahead of New York and Germany. China fully vaccinated 75 percent (unchanged), India 18.4 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Continued trend of pronounced uptick in G7 less Canada (driven largely by USA). Continued sharp rise in Alberta particularly notable as has been extensively covered in the media. British Columbia has overtaken Quebec.

Deaths: Canadian North ahead of Japan, Alberta approaching Ontario deaths.

Vaccinations: No significant change from last week. New Brunswick recent increase less apparent in Atlantic as a whole.

Weekly

Infections: Canada ahead of Canada less Quebec, Atlantic Canada ahead of Pakistan:

Deaths per million: Prairies ahead of Canada, Philippines ahead of India, Canadian North ahead of Japan:

Unvaccinated Conservative MPs should ‘stay home’ from Parliament: Bloc leader

Valid given vaccine mandates elsewhere even if this will only affect Conservative MPs:

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said Wednesday the next session of Parliament should happen in person with any members who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 staying home.

Questions remain about what the return to Parliament will look like for Canada’s 338 elected representatives after the recent federal election saw the Liberals re-elected with a minority government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will name his cabinet next month and Parliament will resume sometime in the fall.

Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, the House of Commons and committees had been functioning with some MPs working from Ottawa, but many others appearing virtually, including, later on, to vote, before the election was called.

Blanchet said he wants to see Parliament resume quickly with MPs having to be fully vaccinated in order to be there in person because now vaccines against the novel coronavirus are more widely available.

His party, along with the New Democrats and Liberals, made it a rule that candidates had to be fully vaccinated in order to hit the doorsteps, but the Conservatives did not.

“They get fully vaccinated or they stay home,” Blanchet said of Conservative MPs who might not have had their shots.

“Parliament should not come back under any kind of hybrid formation … now we know that we can go on with the way this building is supposed to work, and we should not refrain from doing so because a few persons don’t believe that the vaccine works. This belongs to another century.”

NDP MP Peter Julian said in a statement that because Canada is battling a fourth wave of the virus, the party wants to talk to others about continuing some of the hybrid practices when Parliament resumes.

“All of our NDP MPs are vaccinated and we’ve been very clear that federal government employees must be vaccinated too. Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do and elected leaders have a responsibility to set a good example by following public health advice,” Julian said.

The Liberals and Conservatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

The Conservatives saw 119 MPs, including incumbents and new candidates, elected on Sept. 20, after the party spent the race dogged by questions about its opposition to making vaccines mandatory as a tool to defeat COVID-19.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole refused to say on the campaign trail whether he knew how many of those running for the Tories had been fully vaccinated, saying he told campaign teams that those who are not immunized against COVID-19 should take daily rapid tests.

O’Toole is himself vaccinated and has been encouraging others to get their shot, but the Conservative leader says he also respects the personal health choices of Canadians and attacked Trudeau for using the issue to sow division in the country.

Conservative MPs will make their way to Ottawa next week to have their first caucus meeting since the election, where they will have to decide whether they want to review O’Toole’s leadership.

The call for MPs to be vaccinated comes as Trudeau works on bringing in a mandate requiring the federal civil service, along with those working in its federally regulated industries, to be fully vaccinated.

His government has promised to make it a rule by the end of October that travellers flying or taking a train in Canada have to be immunized in order to board.

Many provinces have already introduced a vaccine passport system requiring consumers to provide proof of immunization to access non-essential businesses like restaurants and sports and entertainment venues.

“For the safety of House of Commons staff, translators, pages, security, other MPs and their staff, all parliamentarians should show proof that they are fully vaccinated in order to take their seats in the House,” tweeted former Liberal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna, who didn’t seek re-election, but served for six years in government.

As of Friday, Health Canada reported that around 79 per cent of people 12 and older as having being fully vaccinated, with about 85 per cent receiving at least one dose.

Source: Unvaccinated Conservative MPs should ‘stay home’ from Parliament: Bloc leader

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 29 September Update

The latest charts, compiled 29 September as overall rates in Canada increase slightly due to the variant. Canadians fully vaccinated 71.5 percent, higher than USA 56.4 percent and the UK 67 percent).

Vaccinations: Alberta ahead Prairies, Japan ahead of California and USA. China fully vaccinated 73.1 percent (unchanged), India 16.9 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Continued trend of pronounced uptick in G7 less Canada (driven largely by USA). Continued sharp rise in Alberta particularly notable as has been extensively covered in the media.

Deaths: Canada less Quebec now ahead of Canada (reflecting rise in Alberta and Prairies), Philippines ahead of India.

Vaccinations: Impact of Alberta backtracking and imposing a vaccine mandate continues to show increase, now slightly better than Prairies but still significantly lower than other provinces.

Weekly

Infections: UK ahead of Sweden, Prairies ahead of Quebec, Canada less Quebec ahead of Canada:

Deaths per million: Canada less Quebec ahead of Canada, and all provinces save Quebec, Philippines ahead of India:

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 22 September Update

The latest charts, compiled 22 September as overall rates in Canada increase slightly due to the variant. Canadians fully vaccinated 70.5 percent, higher than USA 55.5 percent and the UK 66.6 percent) but all three countries are hitting a wall, with only minimal increases in the past week.

Vaccinations: Alberta ahead of Sweden, Japan ahead of USA, and India ahead of Philippines. China fully vaccinated 73.1 percent, India 15.3 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Continued trend of pronounced uptick in G7 less Canada (driven largely by USA). While all provinces showing increased infections, Alberta and Prairies showing the highest, followed by British Columbia.

Deaths: No major change but continued uptick G7 less Canada and in Alberta.

Vaccinations: Ongoing steady gap between Alberta and Prairies with lower vaccination rates than elsewhere in Canada but impact of Alberta backtracking and imposing a vaccine mandate shows increase over past week.

Weekly

Infections: Canada less Quebec now ahead of Ontario (thanks to Alberta and Prairies):

Deaths per million: USA now ahead of UK.

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 15 September Update

The latest charts, compiled 15 September as overall rates in Canada increase slightly due to the variant. Canadians fully vaccinated 69.3 percent, higher than USA 54.6 percent and the UK 66 percent) but all three countries are hitting a wall, with only minimal increases in the past week.

Trendline charts

Vaccinations: Philippines ahead of India. China fully vaccinated 69.4 percent, India 13.3 percent.

Infections: Continued trend of pronounced uptick in G7 less Canada (driven largely by USA). While all provinces showing increased infections, Alberta and Prairies showing the highest, followed by British Columbia.

Deaths: No major change but uptick G7 less Canada and in Alberta.

Vaccinations: Ongoing steady gap between Alberta and Prairies with lower vaccination rates than elsewhere in Canada. More rapid increase of immigration sources countries continues to be driven by China and to a lesser extent, India.

Weekly

Infections: No relative change.

Deaths per million: Canadian North ahead of Pakistan.

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 8 September Update

The latest charts, compiled 8 September as overall rates in Canada increase slightly due to the variant. Canadians fully vaccinated 68.6 percent, higher than USA 53.8 percent and the UK 65.1 percent) but all three countries are hitting a wall, with only minimal increases in the past week.

Vaccinations: China now has highest vaccination rate, British Columbia ahead of Canadian North, Italy ahead of Prairies, Sweden ahead of Alberta.  Chinese fully vaccinated, 63.3 percent (unchanged from last week).

Trendline charts

Infections: Same ongoing trend of pronounced uptick in G7 less Canada (driven largely by USA). While all provinces showing increased infections, Alberta and Prairies showing the highest.

Deaths: No major change but uptick G7 less Canada.

Vaccinations: Ongoing steady gap between Alberta and Prairies with lower vaccination rates than elsewhere in Canada. More rapid increase of immigration sources countries continues to be driven by China and to a lesser extent, India.

Weekly

Infections: No relative change except California slightly ahead of Sweden.

Deaths per million: No significant change.