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Must-watch interview: Marshawn Lynch, Dr. Fauci discuss COVID vaccine hesitancy

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The East Bay’s favorite running back sat down with Dr. Anthony Fauci to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and the hesitancy surrounding the vaccine, primarily in Black and Brown communities.

Marshawn Lynch, who was born and raised in Oakland, sat down virtually with the nation’s top public health expert in a 32-minute video posted to YouTube on Friday.

“It’s a pleasure to meet the Dr. Faucheezy himself,” Lynch said. “What’s happening big dog?”

Dr. Fauci said the focus right now is trying to get as many people vaccinated.

More than 550,000 Americans have died from the virus, disproportionately affecting more Blacks and Hispanics than Whites, Fauci said.

Fauci hoped by talking with Lynch would encourage more people to get vaccinated.

“That’s why we thought maybe you and I having a conversation about it, since you’re such an admired person, by everyone but especially by African Americans because of your success in football, that you might encourage them with me to make sure that people, although they may be understandably a little reluctant for a variety of reasons, to make sure they wind up getting vaccinated,” Dr. Fauci said.

Lynch said he was heartbroken to hear the stats of the deaths and hospitalizations by Blacks and Hispanics.

He added that Blacks may be reluctant to get vaccinated because “people like him” don’t seem to be on the well-received end of situations when it comes to the government.

Lynch said he thinks it’s more of a lack of education, rather than the actual vaccine itself. 

“We totally respect the reluctance that African Americans have about things like this because you’re absolutely right. The history of how the federal government, going back decades, particularly in the area of medical issues, how they’ve treated African Americans has not been something to be proud of.”

Dr. Fauci proceeded to discuss other reasons why people may be skeptical about the vaccine, for example — how quickly the vaccine was developed, given most vaccines take years to develop.

“The speed is really the reflection of an incredible amount of research that took place for decades before the vaccine was actually developed,” he said. “So even though it was developed in less than a year, it took decades of work to make it get to that point.”

“It wasn’t reckless,” Fauci added. “And it’s safe because we tested it in tens of thousands of people, including African Americans and Hispanics.”

But Beastmode wasn’t convinced. 

He asked Fauci what the results were after the tests, and how it affected Blacks and Browns versus other races.

Fauci said the outcomes of the tests did not differ from the tests of whites, and results were submitted to the FDA, which then decided it was safe and effective to give to the country.

The two also talked about what fully vaccinated people will be able to do versus those who are not vaccinated.

Some countries are doing what they are referring to as vaccine passports, which is essentially similar to a driver’s license.

The United States has not yet gotten to that point, but Fauci added it’s a way for people to feel safe while traveling or attending a sporting event, for example.

In the end, Lynch said the purpose of the video wasn’t to push a certain agenda on anyone. Rather, he wanted to make this information accessible to those in his community to better educate themselves on the topic.

But Lynch didn’t let Dr. Fauci go without a proper invite to his hometown of Oakland.

“Whenever you ready to come to Oakland, just let me know man,” he said. “Let me tell you, Bill Clinton came to Oakland and we had Bill Clinton in the hood. We had him in deep East Oakland and he came out there and he came to our level. And he was able to have a conversation and I believe it did something for my community.”

Fauci said if he gets a chance to go to Oakland, he would want to catch Lynch on a basketball court for a 1-on-1 matchup.

Lynch also said he hopes the two can stay in touch after the threat of the coronavirus dies down, to discuss other issues impacting Black and Brown communities.

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