Black public figures have been working to encourage the Black community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The ethical violations of previous American clinical trials, including the infamous “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” evidence of systematic racism in the healthcare system, tidal waves of misinformation being tossed around Twitter and Clubhouse, and the swiftness with which multiple vaccine options have been introduced to the market have led to a deep mistrust from some in the African-American community.
These reluctant participants have become targets of outreach efforts by medical organizations looking to combat the current pandemic, and some celebrities have jumped in to help them spread awareness. Former President Barack Obama has even volunteered to publicly receive his dose to assuage fears about potential side effects.
“I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting COVID,” he told SiriusXM.
During his first term as Commander-In-Chief, Obama previously did the same to advocate for the H1N1 vaccine at the height of the swine flu pandemic. Other politicians, former pro athletes, television personalities, and news anchors have done the same, volunteering to publicly receive doses of the vaccine to assure the public of its safety. Find out who’s stepped up to the plate below.
The Vice President publicly received a dose of the vaccine with the Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. She described the experience as “painless,” to reporters on the scene and said, “I want to urge everyone to take the vaccine when it is your turn.”
The Hall of Famer headed to an HBCU to be publicly vaccinated and encouraged others to do the same. “I was proud to get the COVID-19 vaccine earlier today at Morehouse School of Medicine,” he tweeted on January 5. “I hope you do the same!” Sadly, the baseball Hall of Famer died in his sleep of natural causes 16 days later.
The six-time NBA champ began calling on professional athletes to promote awareness about the vaccine soon after he received his shot.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson got his first “jab” of the vaccine at The Forum in Inglewood January 24th. California’s governor moved the state into phase 1b of the vaccine roll-out, allowing people 65 years of age and older to get the shot.
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Roadside Attractions )
The 66-year-old journalist and weather forecaster was vaccinated live on The Today Show January 19.
Kimes is one of the many healthcare professionals using their bodies as living examples of the power of vaccines.
Film mogul Tyler Perry was invited to take the vaccine to encourage others to do the same. He admitted he understood other’s reluctance to get the shot on CBS This Morning, saying, “If you look at our history in this country, the Tuskegee experiment, Henrietta Lacks, it raises flags for us as African American people. So I understand why there’s a healthy skepticism about the vaccine.”
CNN correspondent Stephanie Elam has been chronicling her experience as part of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial since joining in late 2020.
When former first lady Michelle Obama received her vaccine on March 11, she posted a photo on Instagram urging others to follow suit. “When you can get the COVID-19 vaccine, I hope you do—Barack and I are certainly glad we did, she wrote. “It’s our best shot at beating this virus, looking out for one another, and getting back to some of the things we miss. Getting vaccinated will save lives—and that life could be yours.”
As Mrs. Obama mentioned in her Instagram post, both she and the former president received the vaccination. They also shared an important PSA encouraging others to do the same. Watch here