(Reuters) – Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday appeared ahead of the NBA All-Star Game and appealed for Americans to take COVID-19 vaccines, as President Joe Biden’s administration seeks to counter vaccine hesitancy among African Americans.
“I’m urging everyone to get the vaccine when it is your turn. I’ve taken the vaccine,” said Harris, the first Black American to serve as vice president, in clips from a conversation with actor and producer Michael B. Jordan broadcast ahead of the game.
“It’s about understanding that it’s bigger than you. It really is an extension of love thy neighbor and it will save their life,” said Harris.
Harris has been making similar appeals to Black Americans in recent weeks, in response to distrust in vaccines.
A Reuters poll in December found 49% of Black Americans said they would be interested in taking the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 63% of white Americans.
Experts say that can be traced to decades of unequal healthcare access and treatment, under-representation in clinical trials and a history of medical horror stories, such as the infamous “Tuskegee Study” that left African-American men with syphilis untreated without their knowledge to observe the course of the disease.
(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Christopher Cushing)