Race and Medical Experiments – What’s The Truth?

Race and Medical Experiments - What's The Truth?

Even before the Covid vaccine was available in Britain, America and beyond, there was a clear gap in the willingness to take it between the general population and some of those from ethnic minorities. Presenter Seyi Rhodes is vaccinated, but at first his mum was hesitant to do the same. In this eye-opening film, Seyi sets out to discover the links between such vaccine hesitancy and a toxic history of racially charged experiments contributing to a mistrust of medical science. One of the most commonly cited examples is in Tuskegee in Alabama. Seyi travels there to discover the legacy of a notorious syphilis study where African-American men were denied treatment and simply observed as their disease progressed. He uncovers another case where a 19th-century gynaecologist perfected his surgical technique on enslaved women, without anaesthetic. Seyi learns that the British also ran experiments to see how mustard gas affected Indian skin. And even the US hunt to find Bin Laden used a fake vaccine programme to obtain DNA samples from his hideout. Seyi learns the uncomfortable truth that online anti-vaxxers are using links in history to make people question whether or not to take the Covid vaccine today. But Seyi is inspired when he meets Professor Stephen Thomas, an African-American public health pioneer with a mission: to acknowledge the damaging past in order to win back trust. Backed by President Biden, he’s turned 1000 barbershops into places where vaccine-hesitant people talk and listen, and if they want to, even get the vaccine after their hair cut!

Race and Medical Experiments – What’s The Truth? – Monday 10pm on Channel 4

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