Why the COVID Vaccine is safe and effective for everyone

27 January 2021


Brent's Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr John Licorish, has recorded an important message about the COVID Vaccine for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in Brent.

In the video, Dr Licorish, a Medical Consultant with expertise in vaccines:

  • Addresses uncertainty about the vaccine among some communities
  • Explains why the vaccine is safe and effective
  • Explains what to do if you are unsure about whether to accept the vaccine.

Watch the video:

On Monday 25 January 2021 a free webinar organised by Brent Council saw participants invited to separate fact from fiction with a panel of community representatives including Dr Licorish - who answered questions from residents. Watch the webinar

Find out more about the NHS COVID Vaccination Programme in Brent

Video Transcript:

My name is Dr John Licorish, and I work in the Public Health team in Brent.

Today I want to talk to you both as a Medical Consultant with expertise in vaccines and as a member of the black community in our borough.

I know that there is some uncertainty about the COVID vaccine among many of our black residents.

It’s ok, in fact it is good to want to know more. Health inequality is real and, sadly, black people and other minority groups have been among the worst affected by this deadly virus and we have seen that right here in Brent. Unfortunately we are twice as likely to die  if we catch Covid-19 disease.

But there is something you can do to protect yourself: Have the vaccine when it is offered to you.

I want to make it very clear the vaccination programme is safe for everyone, and is our best way out of this terrible pandemic.

I know you may have seen lots of information from the internet, Facebook, WhatsApp and elsewhere saying various things about the vaccines. Many of these things are not always positive.

But let us be very clear: The NHS only offers vaccinations to the public once independent experts, who by the way have nothing to do with government, have signed it off as being safe.

Like me you may have friends and relatives in other countries. The vaccines have been approved not just here but by independent experts in many other countries too.

I also want to make clear that the vaccine is just as effective for black people and other minority groups – it does not work differently among different ethnic groups.

So, if you are invited to get the vaccine, my advice to you is: please, please, please take up that appointment.

Attending doesn’t mean that you have to accept the vaccine. It gives you a chance to go, to learn more, to talk through any concerns you might have, and then make your own decision.

I know some of us are saying we want to wait and see. Unfortunately there isn’t much time to wait. Every day individuals including from our communities are continuing to get very unwell and in some cases die from Covid-19.

Over five million doses of vaccines have been given in the United kingdom including to members of the black community and there have been no major safety concerns.

Health service staff are currently treating record numbers of seriously ill patients with COVID, caused by rapidly rising infection number.

So please stay at home where possible and continue to follow the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

And if you do have any questions about the vaccination programme, please speak to a trusted source of information – the NHS or your GP. Thank you.

Look after yourself, look after your family, look after each other and please take that vaccine.