The death of famed boxer Marvin Hagler sparked conversations on hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine, especially within Black communities.
For Black people living in America, trust towards the medical industry is scarce due to medical racism which included non-consensual experimentation on Black bodies and the belief that Black people have higher propensity towards pain.
Hagler died on March 13 to the shock of his fans and supporters. However, it was the lack of information around his cause of death that opened the door for speculation. Hagler’s wife initially stated that Hagler, “passed away unexpectedly” in the couple’s New Hampshire home. But one of Hagler’s boxing contemporaries, Thomas Hearns, riled up more speculation after posting an Instagram message where he claimed Hagler was hospitalized from COVID-19 vaccine complications.
The unfounded statement along with the online conversations probably inspired Hagler’s widow, Kay recently made a public statement on Hagler’s Facebook fan page, in an effort to clear up any misconceptions.
But because of history and the lag in rectifying or even acknowledging the gruesome and oftentimes deadly experimentation on Black people in America, uncertainty lingers in Black communities around the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, according to the CDC no evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines directly contributed to patient deaths. “Over 92 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through March 8, 2021,” according to the CDC. “During this time, VAERS received 1,637 reports of death (0.0018%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC and FDA physicians review each case report of death as soon as notified and CDC requests medical records to further assess reports.”
Several high-profile Black figures have documented and publicized themselves receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, including Spike Lee, Vice President Kamala Harris, and most recently Forever FLOTUS, Michelle Obama.
Prior to the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine in December, a group of Black doctors called the Black Coalition Against COVID, released a video encouraging Black community members to engage in conversation around their vaccine concerns.
A conversation around the Black community’s distrust over the vaccine should continue so that medical experts can fight to break down the walls and barriers placed due to over 400 years of systemic racism, which affects quality of life for Black people at every level.