Dudley Council has backed Sir Lenny Henry’s appeal urging people to take the Covid vaccine.

The Dudley born actor and comedian has written an open letter encouraging black Britons to take up the jab.

He has said that there has been a “disproportionate amount of black people and brown people dying” during the pandemic which “we want to stop”.

Karen Wright, director of public health at Dudley Council, said: “We’re very pleased and proud that Sir Lenny, one of our own, has used his public platform to get this absolutely critical advice out there about the vaccine. It is a very emotional message and I hope it hits home with people.

“The vaccine is the biggest weapon we have in the fight against coronavirus, but it’s effectiveness ultimately will be dependent on how many people get the jab.”

Sir Lenny has gained support from other high-profile figures, including actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton, radio personality Trevor Nelson, musician KSI and author Malorie Blackman, as signatories.

The letter, which is backed by the NHS, has also been turned into a short film.

Karen Wright added: “The take-up amongst ethnic minorities is especially concerning, and I would echo Sir Lenny’s call for people to back the scientists and to take their advice.

“That goes to everyone irrespective of race or colour – the more people that get the jab, the quicker we will be able to return to some sort of normality.

“The message is simple – if you are offered the jab, take it.”

Around four in 10 people in England aged 70 and over identifying as black African are unlikely to have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).