Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick has been vaccinated against COVID-19, receiving his second shot on Wednesday, and called on Black America to follow suit.
Frederick, who has sickle cell disease and type one diabetes, became one of the first individuals to get a vaccine shot at Howard University Hospital.
The practicing surgeon produced a public service announcement (PSA) on the importance of getting the coronavirus vaccine, as well.
“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,” said Frederick in a statement.
“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,” he continued, adding that the infectious disease has disproportionately impacted the African American community.
As an essential health care worker, educator, father & person at high risk, there’s no better way than to lead by example. It’s time to change the narrative in communities of color and take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from exposure. Read more: https://t.co/4mP2fAplsW pic.twitter.com/FqXSv0lMsy
— Wayne A. I. Frederick (@HUPrez17) January 6, 2021
According to a release from Howard University, Frederick has been on the frontlines of the pandemic. He closed the university to in-person classes in March, led efforts to open coronavirus testing sites around the District, and co-chaired Mayor Bowser’s ReOpen DC subcommittee. He has also been a vocal advocate of vaccine trial participation.
Howard University Hospital CEO Anita Jenkins acknowledged in the university’s release that minority communities across the nation are hesitant about 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 Jenkins, who is also featured in the PSA receiving the shot.
“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,” she added.
African-Americans are nearly three times as likely to die of COVID-19 as whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).