Throughout this pandemic, some troubling demographics have been repeated.
The death rate among British Africans and British Pakistanis from COVID-19 in hospitals were more than 2.5 times that of the white population. (Institute of Fiscal Studies.)
Hospital deaths per 100,000 among British people of a black Caribbean background were three times the equivalent number among the majority white British population. (NHS England figures.)
More than 50,000 Black Americans are now dead from COVID-19. (COVID Racial Data Tracker)
Why are people of colour dying at twice or even four times the rate than their white counterparts?
Answer: 'Vaccine Hesitancy.'
And since we share that demographic we should care.
The UK Household Longitudinal survey asked 12,035 participants in November 2020, 'How likely or unlikely would you be to take the vaccine?'
A whopping 72 per cent of black respondents were hesitant, followed by South Asians of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage (42 per cent) and mixed ethnicities (32 per cent). By contrast, only 18 per cent of white respondents were hesitant.
Who lived? The whites who took the vaccines.
Who died? The Africans and South Asians who didn't.
As HuffPost UK reported, campaigners have argued many in African and Asian communities are understandably "nervous" due to the historical abuse of these communities.
As recently as last year, French doctors were called out for racism by former footballer Didier Drogba for treating African people as human 'guinea pigs.' Drogba and others were rightly incensed by a TV debate where a French doctor suggested trials in Africa to 'see if a tuberculosis vaccine would prove effective against coronavirus.'
Medical racism is not new; neither is the structural racism towards the black community.
Between 1845 and 1849, Dr James Marion Sims, the "father of modern gynaecology" was said to have 'tortured enslaved black women while perfecting his medical surgeries on their bodies', without consent or an anaesthetic.
Sims, who invented the modern speculum, widely used for vaginal exams, which he first used on slaves, is glorified by the medical history profession 'despite his brutality' against black people.
Black American men died of syphilis in an ethically abusive study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the United States Public Health Service (PHS) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The purpose of this study was to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis.
Huff Post UK has reported British National Health Service that Black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, a disparity the NHS acknowledges and regrets but does not have a target to end.'
Professor Sophie Harman, specialising in global health at the Queen Mary University of London, asked, 'Would you trust a government that accepts you're more likely to die of COVID-19 than your white neighbours and does nothing very much about it?'
Vaccine hesitancy risks a double tragedy: racial inequality in deaths from COVID-19 and racial disparities in vaccine uptake.
Asian and Black communities surveyed in the UK and US were more likely to die when infected from health inequalities that arise out of social and economic disparities, and as a result, have co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
Other factors for low vaccine uptake among African and Asian people include misinformation, rumours, conspiracy theories in social media, the lack of effective public health messages or targeted campaigns and barriers to access, including vaccine delivery time, location and public transport.
In a recent interview with The Sunday Guardian, The UK High Commissioner Harriet Cross said her country vaccinated itself out of more than 128,000 deaths and soaring infections to achieving among the most successful vaccination programmes globally by educating people on a very local level.
The T&T Government has recently been gifted over 124,000 vaccines from China, Bermuda, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, respectively. We desperately need to vaccinate to save the lives of our people and our economy. The word needs to get out not by politicians but by trusted public figures in their communities, including clerics, celebrities, sportspeople and respected elders.
The irony is that the vaccine hesitancy in small island nations like ours will allow COVID-19 to kill our people and destroy our economies and put us back at the mercy of the same wealthy nations who previous plundered and colonised us.