Politics

David Lammy argues BAME community are ‘suspicious’ but asks them to take ‘safe’ vaccine

Vaccine: BAME community ‘are suspicious’ says Lammy

The Labour MP has been urging members of Britain’s BAME community to take the coronavirus vaccine following a report which claimed over 70 percent of black people would reject the offer of a jab. Mr Lammy explained the historic reasons why black communities are “suspicious of pharmaceuticals”. He stressed that in the past Black Africans had been experimented on in atrocities which have given rise to a degree of medical scepticism but stressed the importance that people recognise the vaccine is safe. 

He told BBC London Politics on Sunday: “Let us be clear there are sadly historic reasons why black communities are suspicious of pharmaceuticals.

“There were experiments on people of African descent on the continent of Africa.

“And a very famous terrible experiment, the Tuskegee experiments on African-Americans.”

This referred to an infamous syphilis study by the American Government beginning in the 1930s which saw 600 African American men infected with the disease at a time when there was no known cure.

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The MP for Tottenham also placed blame on historical issues of inequality in the UK

He said: “Let’s remember that here that here in our country black women have five times the infant mortality of white women.

“So there are significant reasons why of course there is a degree of hesitancy.

“But the important thing to get across is that this vaccine is safe.”

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“Just like other vaccines, polio, typhoid, TB, advances in medicines have allowed us to get to this point, he continued.”

“Importantly the trials including people of minority background and African descent whether it was in Brazil, South Africa, the United States or indeed in our own country.

“Those are the messages that begin to reassure.” 

His remarks come as Black MPs from the Conservative and Labour parties united against the spread of false rumours about vaccines in a video shared online last week.

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi have since also come together to urge people to take the vaccine.

Writing in the Observer they said: “We’re pleased the UK has already started rolling out two Covid vaccines, that will eventually get us back to our normal lives, but right now it is how we will protect our communities, our friends and family, our colleagues, our elders.

“We are calling on people from ethnic minority backgrounds to get their Covid vaccine – it is safe, it is effective and it could save your life or the life of someone you love. This issue transcends party lines.

“Last week, Black MPs from the Conservative and Labour parties united against the spread of false rumours about vaccines in a video where they shared stories of losing loved ones to the virus. British Asians have put out a similar video to help dispel vaccine myths.”

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