Sheffield footballing legend Uriah Rennie releases video in efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy in BAME communities

Sheffield footballing legend Uriah Rennie, one of the first black Premier League football referees, is publicly supporting efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy in BAME communities.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 2:41 pm

Uriah, aged 61, from Sheffield recently had his Covid vaccination and allowed the cameras in to film a video encouraging others to get vaccinated.

Uriah is well known in local black communities and works with a number of Sheffield charities, and will now be showing people his video to share his own experience.

Before having the vaccine, Uriah did his own research into how they were made and the clinical trials they underwent.

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Uriah Rennie from Sheffield was one of the first black referees to officiate in the Premier League (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Uriah Rennie from Sheffield was one of the first black referees to officiate in the Premier League (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

He said: “There is a lot of scepticism about the vaccine among black people, including members of my own family. They are wary of pharmaceutical companies because historically there have been instances of them using experimental drugs on black people that have resulted in deaths and they don’t trust them.

“One recent case saw Pfizer reach an out of court settlement with parents in Nigeria who said a drug being trialled by the company caused the deaths of their children. These cases may have happened years ago, and in Africa, but the stories get passed down to black people living in Sheffield and create a lack of trust in the Covid vaccination.”

He added: “Once I knew the vaccine was safe, I decided to not only have the vaccination but use my influence to encourage others to do the same because I want to protect my family and loved ones and want them to do the same by having the vaccination," he explained.

“Now I’ve had the vaccine - without any side effects - not even a sore arm; I am pleased to say – I can speak to them about what I’ve learned, which is that the best way to protect yourself and those around you is to have the vaccine.”

The video shows himself asking his vaccinator questions about the safety of the vaccines and their ingredients, which he hopes will reassure people and encourage them to have the Covid vaccine.

Alun Windle, chief nurse and Covid vaccination lead at NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “We’ve had excellent take up of the vaccine in Sheffield with over a quarter of a million people receiving their first dose, including the majority of eligible people from black and ethnic minority communities.

"However, the rates of vaccination among BAME communities are still lower than in the general population, and we still have work to do in asking them to set aside any past misgivings about safety.

“Having people like Uriah coming forward and agreeing to work with us to address their particular concerns is fantastic and much needed. There is no time limit on having your vaccine, so it’s not too late to come forward and have the vaccine if you are eligible. You can call up to ask for an appointment any time.”

Uriah’s video can be found here www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SDN7XAW6wQ

If you are in an eligible group – meaning you are aged 42 or over, have a health condition that puts you at greater risk, a learning disability, a registered carer or are a health or social care worker – and you haven’t booked your first dose you can do so by calling 119.

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