News

31.03.2021

Television star calls for members of the Black Community to vaccinate against Covid-19!

Television star Sir Lenny Henry is calling on people from the black community to attend for their Covid-19 Vaccinations as the uptake for black or black British adults is less than half.

The latest weekly NHS data on vaccination uptake by ethnicity shows that over 466,000 and 24,000 Black or Black British adults have taken the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses respectively.

Analysis showed that mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19 was highest among males of Black ethnic background at 255.7 deaths per 100,000 population and 119.8 for black women. The figures are lowest for White men at 87.0 deaths per 100,000.

Sir Lenny Henry said

“I felt it was important to do my bit and so I wrote this letter to Black Britain asking people not to get left behind, to not continue to be disproportionately impacted and to trust the facts from our doctors, professors and scientists, not just in the UK but across the world, including the Caribbean and Africa.

I hear and understand the concerns which people of all backgrounds are wrestling with, but which are particularly concerning in Black communities. I want people to be safe, I don’t want people to die or end up in hospital because of COVID-19. So I’m saying, when your turn comes, take the jab.

I want to thank everyone who has signed the letter and dear friends who took part in Amma’s beautiful film.”

You can see Sir Lenny Henry’s film based on his letter here

 

Sir Lenny’s letter

Dear mums, dads, grandparents, uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters, nephew, nieces, daughters, sons and cousins,

We love you!

We know we don’t say it often enough and sometimes we have our disagreements, like all families do, but wherever you are we love you from the bottom of our hearts and we know you love us.

And we want to see you again. COVID-19 has kept us apart for far too long. We want to hug you, we want to celebrate with you, we want to go out for dinner with you, we want to worship with you, we want to go and watch football and cricket with you, we want to beat you at video games – in the same room so we can see the look on your face when we do.

But in order to do all that – we all need to take the COVID-19 jab. It’s all of us in this together.

Things will slowly get back to normal. Well what people are calling the new normal. The reality is the new normal may mean needing a vaccine to do many of the things we now take for granted.

Because we love you – we want you to be safe and we don’t want you to be left out or left behind. While other communities are rushing to get the vaccine and millions have already been vaccinated, some Black people in our community are being more cautious.

You have legitimate worries and concerns, we hear that. We know change needs to happen and that it’s hard to trust some institutions and authorities.

But we’re asking you to trust the facts about the vaccine from our own professors, doctors, scientists involved in the vaccine’s development, GPs, not just in the UK but across the world including the Caribbean and Africa. Many of whom are our relatives, many of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people of this country from this pandemic.

And the thousands who volunteered to be part of the vaccine trials so that we know it’s safe and works for people of all ethnicities.

Don’t let their sacrifice be in vain. Don’t let your understandable fears be what holds you back. Don’t let your concerns be the thing that widens racial inequality in our society. Don’t let Black people continue to be disproportionately impacted by this terrible disease. Many in our community say they do not want to take the vaccine, much more than other groups. But the fact is we have been disproportionately affected by the virus, many of our loved ones have died. Don’t let coronavirus cost even more Black lives.

We love you. We don’t want you to get sick. We don’t want you to die.

We know you love us too so please hear us and when your turn comes, take the jab.

And once you do, tell cousin Mo to do the same (is he really my cousin?)

Let’s do this together.

Thank you.

Lenny

Signatories to the letter

  • Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock, MBE
  • Sir David Adjaye, OBE, architect
  • Naomi Ackie, actor
  • Sonita Alleyne, OBE, Master, Jesus College, Cambridge
  • Baroness Valerie Amos, Master, University College Oxford
  • Amma Asante, MBE, writer/director
  • Adjoa Andoh, actor
  • Zeinab Badawi, Journalist, Chair, Royal African Society
  • Karen Blackett, OBE, GroupM UK CEO, WPP Country Manager
  • Malorie Blackman, OBE, writer
  • I. Stephanie Boyce, Deputy Vice President, Law Society
  • Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford, CBE, Lawyer, Chair, Shakespeare’s Globe, Chancellor, Coventry University
  • Dr Nira Chamberlain FIMA FORS CSci PhD HonDSc, President of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
  • Eric Collins, CEO, Impact X Capital
  • Garth Crooks, OBE, ex-footballer/football pundit
  • Professor Patricia Daley, Vice Principal at Jesus College, Oxford
  • Reni Eddo-Lodge, aournalist and Author
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, CBE, actor
  • Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, MBE, The Black Farmer
  • Ekow Eshun, writer and broadcaster
  • Professor Kevin Fenton, London’s Regional Director for Public Health England
  • Simon Frederick, TV director and photographer
  • George the Poet, spoken-word artist, poet
  • Patricia Hamzahee, advisor, investor, philanthropist
  • David Harewood, MBE, actor
  • Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, MBE, actor
  • Rev Rose Hudson Wilkin, Bishop of Dover MBE
  • Chris Hughton, Football Manager at Nottingham Forest Football Club
  • Dame Vivian Hunt
  • Adrian Joseph, OBE, Managing Director, Group AI and Data Solutions at BT
  • Kanya King, CBE, Founder MOBO Awards
  • Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing
  • Wol Kolade, Managing Partner at Livingbridge
  • Carol Lake
  • KSI (Olajide Olatunji), musician, YouTuber
  • Baroness Doreen Lawrence
  • Adrian Lester, CBE, actor
  • Darren Lewis, Assistant Editor, Daily Mirror
  • Denise Lewis, OBE, Olympic heptathlon gold medallist, TV Sports Presenter
  • Ric Lewis, Executive Chairman, Tristan Capital Partners, Founder Black Heart Foundation
  • Trevor Nelson, MBE, radio personality
  • Thandie Newton, OBE, actor
  • Dr Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, World Bank
  • Sir Kenneth Olisa, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London
  • David Olusoga, OBE, historian and broadcaster
  • Trevor Phillips, OBE, writer, broadcaster, businessman
  • Professor Cynthia Pine, CBE, Professor of Dental Public Health, Queen Mary University of London
  • Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol
  • Dr Nicola Rollock, Distinguished Fellow, Faculty of Education at University of Cambridge
  • Tom Shropshire, General Counsel, Diageo
  • Lemn Sissay, MBE, author, poet and broadcaster
  • Tevin Tobun, CEO and Founder of GV Group
  • Alex Wheatle MBE, novelist
  • Dame Sharon White, Chair of John Lewis Partnership
  • Charlene White, TV news anchor, ITV
  • Roy Williams, OBE, playwright
  • Marcia Willis Stewart QC, Director, Birnberg Pierce
  • Lord Simon Woolley, Founder and Director of Operation Black Vote
  • Gary Younge, Professor, Manchester University and journalist

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