Black Savannahians Haunted by Memory of US Military Mosquito Experiment

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Black Americans are more hesitant than whites to take the COVID vaccine. Reasons for that hit close to home in Savannah, and include a classified military operation in the 1950s that dropped hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes — mosquitoes that many believe were infected with disease — on Carver Village.

“They didn’t tell anybody, and it happened,” said Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis. “And so that leaves some apprehension, especially when you have residents of that area who’ve been there since the ’50s. And so my job as neighborhood president, and also as chairman of the County Commission, is to kind of calm the storm down to let them know that this vaccination is not like that.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking attitudes about the vaccine for months, indicates 43% of Black adults in the U.S. are taking a “wait and see” approach to the vaccine, according to results of a poll completed Jan. 18. That compares to 26% of white adults in the same poll who say that when an FDA approved vaccine for COVID-19 is available to them for free, they would wait and see how it is working for other people.

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