A FORMER mayor of Basingstoke and Deane has called on people that have a BAME background to get the Covid vaccine when it is offered to them.

Cllr Dan Putty, who was born in Mauritius before settling in Basingstoke in 1970, received his first dose of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine at Basingstoke Fire Station on February 4.

Now, he has spoken to The Gazette, urging people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to take up the offer of the jab.

Last week, The Guardian reported that black people over the age of 80 were half as likely to have had a Covid jab compared to white people.

Cllr Putty told The Gazette: "It is one of those historical factors that everyone from the BAME communities still remember when in the USA they used to try out vaccines such as syphilis on the coloured community.

"They have got quite a lot of historical horrors within those areas that at that time there was so many 'guinea pigs' being used and the harm that was done.

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"A lot of those people who are from these countries have still got that in their mind all the time - 'am I going to be harmed or protected?'

"I say you are going to be protected and protect others.

"I am asking everybody, not only BAME people [to get the vaccine]. I would really ask everybody because I would like all of us to be protected and not only protecting ourselves but others - our families, children, grandchildren and so on.

"We have to protect everybody and then hopefully life will get back to normal when we are all fully protected."

Cllr Putty, who was the mayor of Basingstoke and Deane between 2013 and 14, also described how he was "impressed" with the process of getting his vaccination at a working fire station.

The station, on West Ham roundabout, was partially transformed into a vaccination hub at the start of the month.

With no parking at the site, those attending are asked to park at the Leisure Park and walk across.

After arriving, Cllr Putty was asked to register with a member of staff who asked him whether he was taking certain medications.

Once the assessment was complete, he was directed straight to a cubicle where someone was immediately ready to administer the jab.

And with no need for people receiving the Astra Zeneca jab to be monitored after administration, unless there is a reaction, the 72-year-old was in and outside inside ten minutes.

"It was very well managed," he continued. "I was so impressed with it."

Cllr Putty did report feeling "under the weather" in the hours after receiving the jab, but added that it was minor and went away within a day.

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"The side effects are only temporary and some people don't get side effects whatsoever.

"It shows that the vaccine is working within the person's body and there is nothing to worry about.

"I feel that when I have had a vaccine, I tend to be under the weather for a few hours or so.

"A bit of rest and that is it. You just rest and let it go away."

Cllr Putty was joined by current mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Cllr Diane Taylor, in getting that jab at the fire station.

The mayor visited the centre on Monday (February 8) where she received the first dose of her Covid vaccine.

She took to Twitter afterwards to say: "Who would have thought that being vaccinated could be such a positive experience?

"The Fire Station hub is superbly organised, and manned by outstandingly friendly and efficient people.

"Thank you everyone for working so hard to make us safe. I haven’t even got a sore arm!"