Barack Obama makes direct appeal to Black Americans to get coronavirus vaccine

Mr Obama linked to a New York Times op-ed where 60 Black health experts called for Americans to get the vaccine

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 09 February 2021 20:08
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Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter Tuesday to urge Americans - especially Black Americans - to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as they are eligible.

Mr Obama addressed misinformation about the vaccine, and asked Americans to trust the science behind the drugs.

"There is a lot of disinformation out there, but here’s the truth: You should get a Covid vaccine as soon as it's available to you. It could save your life—or a loved one’s," Mr Obama wrote on the tweet.

His tweet included a link to a New York Times opinion piece that included 60 Black health experts warning Americans about vaccine disinformation and the importance of the drugs in the fight against the coronavirus.

The article pointed out the long history of science and medicine taking advantage of the Black community, which has caused widespread mistrust as a result.

"Far too often, our health has been ignored and even abused in the name of science. It is no surprise that polls indicate Black Americans are far less likely than other groups to intend to get vaccinated against Covid-19," the article says.

According to the experts, Black Americans were taking a "wait and see" approach to the vaccine, citing surveys that showed there was widespread hesitancy to become vaccinated.

"Eight percent said they would get one only if required. Fourteen percent said they would “definitely not” get a vaccination. Only 35 percent said they would get or already have been vaccinated. What’s also troubling, as Kaiser reported, is that 'Black Americans are still receiving Covid vaccinations at dramatically lower rates than white Americans,'" the authors say in the op-ed.

The health experts pointed out that Black Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the health experts, Black Americans are 1.5 times more likely to die from the virus than white Americans.

"We feel compelled to make the case that all Black Americans should get vaccinated to protect themselves from a pandemic that has disproportionately killed them at a rate 1.5 times as high as white Americans in cases in which race is known — a rate that is most likely very conservative," the authors say in the piece.

Mr Obama, along with former presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton, received the vaccination live in an effort to increase confidence in the virus among Americans.

The former president appeared on Joe Madison's SiriusXM radio show to argue the safety of the vaccine.

“People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I’ve worked with, I trust completely. So if Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID, absolutely I’m going to take it,” he said.

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