Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick is urging Black America to get vaccinated in a public service announcement, according to university officials.
Frederick – a practicing surgeon who has the sickle cell disease – was one of the first to get vaccinated at Howard University Hospital.
“The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on communities of color, and that narrative won’t change until we take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from exposure,” Frederick said. “The vaccines that are coming to market are safe and have been proven to be more than 90% effective. However, we can’t get to the other side of this pandemic without you. Wear a mask, keep your social distance, wash your hands and, when the time comes, get vaccinated.”
African Americans are near three times as likely to die of COVID-19 as Whites in the U.S., according to the CDC. In D.C. specifically, African Americans are 75% of the COVID-19-related deaths but are only 46% of the city’s population.
“I understand there is a lot of hesitancy in minority communities across the country when it comes to healthcare, but this is not an American experiment on Black people. The vaccine is a worldwide cure to end a global pandemic and set us on a path back to normalcy,” said Howard University Hospital CEO Anita Jenkins. “We want the public to know that we trust the science, we’re leading by example and taking the vaccine will help us end this pandemic and the tragic loss of life.”