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Black couple who refused vaccine because of notorious US government program die of COVID-19

The Hill
The Hill
  • A Black unvaccinated couple died from the coronavirus, citing the Tuskegee study for the reason why they did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Alabama has the lowest percentage of fully vaccinated people in its population, with less than 36 percent of their residents fully vaccinated.
  • The Daniels’ family has a GoFundMe to raise donations to assist two of their surviving children’s education fund

A Black unvaccinated couple who decided not to get the vaccine over concerns about the government’s Tuskegee study have died from COVID-19.

Martin and Trina Daniel, 53 and 49 respectively, died on July 6. They were married for 22 years and have two teenage children, WSBTV, Atlanta's ABC affiliate, reported.

The couple’s decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine was reportedly influenced by the government’s syphilis experiments on Black men in the 1930s, which were conducted in Alabama and where Martin graduated college, according to the outlet.

Alabama also has the lowest percentage of fully vaccinated people. Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana also have less than 36 percent of their residents are fully vaccinated.

Their deaths come as the delta variant has spread across the U.S. and is responsible for more than 80 percent of new coronavirus cases, as Changing America previously reported.

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The Tuskegee study was a government-funded experiment from the 1930s to 1970s in search of a cure for syphilis, as well as to study if there were differences in symptoms among white patients and Black patients with late-stage syphilis.

Black participants, all of whom were Black men who worked as sharecroppers, were told if they allowed Public Health Service doctors to perform tasks on their existing syphilis they would receive free health care — but the Alabama government lied, and the experiment was regarded as an ethically abusive study, according to Examining Tuskegee: the infamous syphilis study and its legacy.

About 400 men presumed to be infected with syphilis were given placebos in the form of drugs and were falsely told they were receiving special treatment. But instead they endure painful procedures that tapped inside their spinal cords to investigate the disease's neurological consequences, TED Talk reported.

"In order to track the disease's full progression, researchers provided no effective care as the men died, went blind or insane or experienced other severe health problems due to their untreated syphilis," according to

Before whistleblowers had the chance to expose the injustice, "28 participants had perished from syphilis, 100 more had passed away from related complications, at least 40 spouses had been diagnosed with it and the disease had been passed to 19 children at birth."

Martin died three hours apart from his wife Trina.

"Just tying these two events together and understanding the historical context of what's going on, it really wears on me sometimes," said Cornelius Daniel, Martin's nephew.

The Daniels’ family has a GoFundMe to raise donations to assist two of their surviving children’s education fund. One is said to be entering college, and their “transition into a new norm.”


Comments / 2950

Morning cup of coffee

Stop!! Stop with color! Stop with personal choice! Stop saying someone is an anti- Vaxxer simply because the Vaccine is an EUA and the FDA has put in place rigorous testing and procedures that this vaccine needs to go through! This vaccine should not bypass what was put in place for the safety of the people. A choice to wait is their right. If that choice causes death either way, with or without the vaccine, it was their choice. Many people don’t trust the government and yet what have they done to gain that trust? Nothing! How about reverse the 1986 law absolving all liability from drug manufacturers to start??? Why is this so hard? Why can’t you stand beside what you created? Oh wait, let’s give a free donut everyday for those vaccinated! Th ya will gain their trust!!

John Zager

I can understand why the African American community are afraid of getting shots by the government. with the way that the African American communities have been treated especially in the south is completely wrong. it's sad that it comes to the point where the community itself is afraid of getting shots because they don't know what's really in them. my deepest sympathies go towards the family.

NewsBoy's Nickle

Your an adult you make up your mind as for me I had covid and as both I and my friends and families thought it would be my death due to my age and copd issues. I had it with just lose of taste and smell for 2 days no other symptoms. GOD hasn't called for me yet and no I will not take the vaccine never took any vaccine and never got the flu that I was aware of. Just like the yearly flu some will get sick, some won't.


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