A group of prominent Black medical professionals recently penned “a love letter to Black America,” urging the community to take the coronavirus vaccines once available and to avoid holiday gatherings with family amid the raging pandemic.

“Respect for our Black bodies and our Black lives must be a core value for those who are working to find the vaccine for this virus that has already taken so many of our loved ones,” the doctors wrote. “Our colleagues across healthcare know that we are urging our community to take safe and effective vaccines once available. However, for this to be successful, they must do more to earn your trust — now, and in the future.”

The letter comes amid widespread skepticism among Black Americans regarding the newly developed vaccines. An Axios/Ipsos poll found that while over half of white and Latino respondents would get vaccinated as soon as possible, 72 percent of Black respondents said they wouldn’t, according to NBC News.

The letter’s authors, who include Leon McDougle, president of the National Medical Association, David Carlisle, president of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Martha A. Dawson, president of the National Black Nurses Association, and Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard University, also asked the community to be mindful of holiday gatherings with family.

“With the holidays around the corner, we want nothing more than to break bread with our loved ones. But tradition cannot stand in the way of our health,” the letter states. “We plead with you to wear your masks, continue social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding indoor events until vaccines are widely available.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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