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Stories and information in our region on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lamont Seeks To Improve Trust In Vaccine Among Black Residents

Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont
Jessica Hill
Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said the state needs to do more to convince Black residents that a COVID-19 vaccine will be safe and effective. 

Black Americans have been disproportionately hit by COVID-19, and polls show they’re less likely to trust scientists and more hesitant to get vaccinated when a vaccine becomes available.

Lamont spoke to a group of Black community leaders in the state, including health experts and religious leaders.

“We’ve got to do a better job of reaching out to the African-American community and give them confidence that when we do this vaccine, we’re all in this together. We want to make sure we take care of the folks who are most disadvantaged, keep them safe,” Lamont said.

State Black leaders said the Black community’s mistrust is rooted in a history of medical exploitation, including the Tuskegee syphilis study, in which hundreds of Black men were intentionally given ineffective treatments.

Dr. Wizdom Powell is with the Health Disparities Institute at the University of Connecticut.

“What we are bearing witness to is rooted in an unfortunate reality, and that is a history of medical malice that dates back not just to Tuskegee and the infamous study of untreated syphilis among Negro males, but rooted in a series of medical exploitation committed against people who held less power than those who held power over them,” Powell said.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.