HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – On Wednesday, Mayor Donnie Tuck and Dr. William Harvey, president of Hampton University, received the COVID-19 vaccine at Sentara CarePlex Hospital to demonstrate the safety of the vaccine.
The leaders wanted to show their confidence in the vaccine because a Pew Research Center study shows, while Black Americans are disproportionally affected by the pandemic, only 42% say they will get a vaccine, compared with 63% of Hispanic and 61% of white adults.
Mayor Donnie Tuck’s and Dr. William Harvey’s vaccination process was live-streamed on Facebook.
“You have that greater percentage that’s unwilling to take it because of primarily reluctance and fear,” Mayor Tuck said.
Dr. Harvey said he was glad the mayor joined him to get vaccinated. “As leaders who happen to be African-American, we need to try to be good examples for others because I believe this is the only way we are going to get out of this pandemic — for people to take the vaccine,” Harvey said.
In addition, Dr. Harvey addressed the Tuskegee study, which is one of the sources of fear among the Black community.
Harvey said it was shameful, but nothing like that is going to happen now.
In the experiment, which started in 1932, government doctors secretly withheld medical treatment from hundreds of Black men in Alabama who believed they were being given medicine for syphilis.
Federal rules were implemented to protect subjects in health studies, as a result.
Virginia began giving the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week to frontline healthcare workers.
Due to the limited initial supplies, priority for the vaccine is being given to those workers and to residents of long-term care facilities.
As the vaccine becomes more available, Virginia officials plan to expand the groups recommended for vaccination.
The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Virginia Wednesday was 4,652, the highest total of new cases reported in one day since March, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.
Officials urge residents to continue social distancing, stay home unless it’s necessary to travel and wear masks when in public around others to cut down on the spread of the coronavirus.
For additional information on local COVID-19 cases and the vaccination process visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website.