Black couple who refused vaccine due to infamous Tuskegee syphilis study die from COVID-19 three hours apart
Martin and Trina Daniel with family members. (Screenshot)

A Black couple who refused to be vaccinated because of concerns about the federal government's infamous Tuskegee study have died from COVID-19.

Martin Daniel, 53, and his wife, 49-year-old Trina Daniel, died just three hours apart on July 6, according to Atlanta's ABC affiliate. They had been married for 22 years.

Martin Daniel graduated from Tuskegee University in Alabama — which collaborated on the study — and "the government's syphilis experiments on Black men during the 1930s influenced his and his wife's decision not to get vaccinated," according to the station.

"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 launched a fundraiser to benefit the couple's two teenage children.

The Tuskegee study, which ran from 1932 to 1972, has frequently been cited as one factor behind lower COVID-19 vaccination rates among African Americans.

In the study, designed to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis, the Public Health Services recruited 600 poor Black sharecroppers in Macon County, Ala., with the false promise of free healthcare.

"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

By the time a PHS whistleblower exposed the unethical study by leaking information to an Associated Press reporter, "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."