Mary Bassett talks vaccine confidence with Harlem fashion icon ‘Dapper Dan’

A new Vogue magazine video features Harlem-based fashion designer Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Mary Bassett discussing the importance of getting COVID-19 vaccines.

In the March 15, 2021 video, Day said he was concerned about misinformation and fear about COVID-19 vaccines among people of color—especially since they have been hit hard by the disease—and wanted to do his part to help change perceptions. The video shows Day getting a COVID-19 vaccine. It also shows a Zoom meeting between Day and Bassett, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, and former New York City health commissioner. In the meeting, the two discussed how the vaccines were developed and how they work, common concerns about safety, and the reasons why COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color.

In her conversation with Day, Bassett acknowledged that black people have a reason to be distrustful of the health care system, “because it hasn’t always been trustworthy.” She cited the Tuskegee study, in which black male sharecroppers with syphilis were told they were getting medical treatment, but were instead given placebos so that researchers could study the progression of the disease. The experiment “was an unconscionable violation of the rights of these poor sharecroppers, black men in the South,” she said. “But that’s not a reason to decide not to get a vaccine that we have every reason to believe is safe and effective.”

Watch the Vogue video: Dapper Dan on Community, COVID-19, and the Importance of Getting Vaccinated