In the letter, Sir Henry acknowledges the “legitimate concerns and concerns” that people feel, adding: “We know that changes have to happen and that it is difficult to trust certain institutions and authorities.”
He continues: “But we ask you to trust the vaccine facts of our own teachers, doctors, scientists involved in vaccine development, general practitioners, not just in the UK but across the world including the Caribbean. and Africa.
“Many of them are our parents, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people of this country from this pandemic.”
It comes as new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that older people of black African descent are more than seven times more likely than white Britons not to have received a coronavirus vaccine.The rate of people in the Black African group receiving a first dose of the vaccine was estimated at 58.8% – the lowest rate among any ethnic minority groups, while the estimated rate of people identifying as race British white was 91.3%.
Sir Henry’s NHS-backed letter was also signed by high profile figures including former footballer Garth Crooks, author Reni Eddo-Lodge, Mobo Awards founder Kanya King, activist Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Olympian Denise Lewis and historian David Olusoga.
It was made into a short film directed by Amma Asante from the UK and starring actors Adrian Lester, David Harewood, Naomie Ackie and Adjoa Andoh.
“Don’t let your concerns be what exacerbates racial inequalities in our society.
“Don’t let black people continue to be disproportionately affected by this terrible disease.
“Many members of our community say they don’t want to be vaccinated, much more than other groups.
“But the point is that we have been disproportionately affected by the virus, many of our loved ones have died. Don’t let the coronavirus cost black people even more lives.
The film will air on Sky, BT Sport, Viacom, Discovery, A&E and ROK and Channel 5 on Tuesday from 8 p.m. ET.
Sir Henry said: ‘I felt it was important to do my part so I wrote this letter to black Britain asking people not to be left behind, not to continue to be disproportionately affected and trust the facts of our doctors, professors and scientists. , not just in the UK but around the world, including the Caribbean and Africa.
“I hear and understand the concerns that people from all walks of life grapple with, but which are of particular concern 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 say, when your turn comes, take the hit.
“I want to thank everyone who signed the letter and my dear friends who participated in Amma’s beautiful film.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health England, added: ‘We know our black communities have been some of the hardest hit during this pandemic, but we also know that some of us are less likely to get sick. manifest for life. save the vaccine.
“We can all play a role in encouraging our friends and family to accept it when it is offered, whether it is to answer questions or concerns they may have, directing them to information and advice. advice from reliable sources, by sharing our own experiences of vaccination or refusal to convey the myths and disinformation circulating on social networks.
“Getting back to normal life in the UK will mean that each of us will join the more than 30 million people across the UK who have already taken the vaccine. I therefore fully support Sir Lenny’s appeal to our black communities. Let’s all do our part, keep our loved ones safe and end this pandemic ASAP. ”