Fauci joins YouTube coronavirus special aimed at Black community

Anthony Fauci at Senate hearing
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Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, kicked off a new informational YouTube series Tuesday about COVID-19 vaccines that aims to reach Black and brown communities. 

Fauci participated in a question-and-answer interview with two doctors, Jamie Rutland and Italo Brown, in the first video of a planned “Barbershop Medicine” series from YouTube Originals. 

In the approximately nine-minute long video, posted to the American Public Health Association’s YouTube channel, the doctors and Fauci discuss the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine and address vaccine hesitancy in Black and brown communities. 

“Sometimes, the source matters — especially for communities that bear the major burden of illness, but historically haven’t had a reason to trust the healthcare system. As both a product of those communities and a physician, I understand that tug-of-war. We are the bridge between the health challenges they currently face, and the healthy lives they could lead,” Brown said in a statement. 

In the video, Fauci said there is an “understandable distrust” that could be passed down from generation to generation.

“We, the non-African American community’s, got to own that,” Fauci said. “The one thing I’ve learned is you don’t want to disrespect the distrust. You’ve got to make sure you say, ‘I understand why you are distrustful, so let’s talk a little bit about that and talk about why its is so important in today’s circumstances to get vaccinated.’ So that’s lesson for me number one, don’t put anyone down because they’d don’t trust you because, historically they have a good reason to distrust you.”

The “Barbershop Medicine” series will continue with a special set to launch Thursday featuring a local barber inviting Brown and Rutland in for a conversion with local patrons and celebrity guests. 

“Barbershop Medicine” is part of the platform’s $100 million Black Voices Fund that the company announced last year, amid nationwide racial justice protests, in an effort to amplify Black voices. 

The YouTube series is also launching after the federal government ramped up pressure for tech companies to take greater accountability for COVID-19 misinformation. 

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy earlier this month issued an advisory stating misinformation is an “urgent threat” and called on tech companies to take action to combat the false claims that spread on their sites. 

In response to the surgeon general’s warning, YouTube spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said the platform removes content that violates its COVID-19 misinformation policies. Hernandez also said YouTube demotes “borderline videos” and “prominently” surfaces authoritative content about COVID-19 

The Biden administration has also been leveraging the power of social media to promote vaccines to more hesitant communities. 

Similarly to Fauci’s participation in the “Barbershop Medicine” video, he appeared alongside teen pop star Olivia Rodrigo in recent social media posts encouraging Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines.

Tags Anthony Fauci COVID-19 misinformation COVID-19 vaccine Joe Biden Vaccine hesitancy Vivek Murthy YouTube

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