Chicago mayor says there’s ‘reluctance’ about vaccine in Black community

'I'm well aware of unfortunately the sad history of experimentation on African Americans and people of color.'

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has acknowledged the reluctance within the Black community to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Speaking to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday, Lightfoot touched on the distrust that most Black Americans have with the predominately white government.

“There’s plenty of reason in the history of this country, particularly in communities of color, to be a little nervous about the government telling you to take something,” Todd said to Lightfoot, The Hill reports. “Is this burden on you? On the city? Or is this burden do you think on the federal government?”

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“I’m well aware of unfortunately the sad history of experimentation on African Americans and people of color, which is a legacy we’re still dealing with now and it’s manifesting itself into reluctance on the part of some to think about the vaccine,” Lightfoot replied.

The mayor went on to say that her administration is working on building trust among Black Chicagoans by having health care professionals increase awareness about vaccines.

“[T]he people that are actually involved in direct patient care, when they’re comfortable and they speak their truth to people in the community, that’s going to be incredibly important. We’ve got a huge grassroots movement going to make sure that we educate people about the vaccine and they can see for themselves why it’s safe,” she explained.

Meanwhile, many Americans are giving the side-eye to the seemingly rushed and potentially unsafe vaccine pushed by President Donald Trump’s administraton.

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“Certainly, the current president hasn’t helped at all and I think that has added to the public skepticism about the vaccine,” Lightfoot added. “But it’s important that leaders at all levels, at the grassroots level, at the elected officials level, are stepping up and saying ‘This is absolutely necessary to help us return to something of a normal life,’ so we’ve got to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”

TheGrio previously reported, on Thursday, former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all agreed to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to encourage Americans to have faith.

“I understand, historically, everything dating back all the way to the Tuskegee experiments and so forth, why the African American community would have some skepticism,” Obama said. “But the fact of the matter is, is that vaccines are why we don’t have polio anymore. And they’re the reason why we don’t have a whole bunch of kids dying from measles and smallpox and diseases that used to decimate entire populations and communities.”

A recent Gallup poll shows that 58 percent of Americans are willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, that number changes by demographic. 

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