Ethnic minorities 'are more reluctant to take the coronavirus vaccine'

Ethnic minorities are more reluctant to take the coronavirus vaccine over anti-vaxxer fears, says study

People from minority ethnic backgrounds or with lower incomes are less likely to take the coronavirus vaccine, research suggests.

Three-quarters (76 per cent) of the British public would take a Covid-19 jab if advised to by their GP or health professional, according to polling for the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).

This fell to 57 per cent of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds who would be likely to, compared with 79 per cent of white respondents.

Confidence was lowest among respondents of Asian ethnicity, with 55 per cent likely to say yes to a jab.

The RSPH said there was an issue with anti-vaccination messages being ‘specifically targeted at different groups, including different ethnic or religious communities’. 

Denzel Kennedy, a front line receptionist, receives the first of two injections with a dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at the Hurley Clinic in London on Monday

And 70 per cent of the lowest earners were likely to say yes to a vaccine, compared with 84 per cent of the highest earners.

Some 2,076 UK adults were polled by Yonder between December 4 and 6.

Men were more likely to get the jab than women, and 14 per cent of Londoners said they would be ‘very unlikely’ to get vaccinated – the highest proportion in the UK.

Overall, just 8 per cent of those surveyed said they would be very unlikely to take a coronavirus vaccine.

BAME respondents who said they were not willing to be vaccinated were open to offers of further health information from their GP.

More than a third (35%) said they would be likely to change their mind if they had more information about a vaccine’s effectiveness, compared with 18 per cent of white respondents.

Patients sit in the observation area after receiving the first of two injections with a dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at Barnet FC’s The Hive in North West London yesterday

RSPH chief executive Christina Marriott said: ‘It is highly concerning that both those living in poorer areas and those from minority ethnic communities are less likely to want the vaccine.

‘However, it is not surprising. We have known for years that different communities have different levels of satisfaction in the NHS and more recently we have seen anti-vaccination messages have been specifically targeted at different groups, including different ethnic or religious communities.

‘But these are exactly the groups which have suffered most through Covid.

‘They continue to be most at risk of getting ill and most at risk of dying. So the Government, the NHS and local public health must rapidly and proactively work with these communities.’

Jabeer Butt, chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation, said: ‘These findings are not surprising in light of past experience of the reach of vaccines to BAME communities, but they appear to be particularly worrying as it suggests the Covid vaccine may not reach communities that have been disproportionately impacted.

Police detain a woman taking part in an anti-vaccination protest at Parliament Square in London on Monday

‘It is imperative that the NHS uses trusted channels like BAME-led voluntary organisations to reach and address concerns of BAME communities and ensure that the disproportionate impact of Covid is not exacerbated.’

Nadhim Zahawi, the Government minister responsible for Covid vaccine deployment, said: ‘Vaccines are the most effective way to protect people from coronavirus and will save thousands of lives.

‘All vaccines go through a robust clinical trial process and are only given to patients once they have met the strict safety, effectiveness and quality standards of the UK’s medicines regulator, the MHRA.

‘The NHS will provide advice and information at every possible opportunity, including working closely with BAME communities, to support those receiving a vaccine and to anyone who has questions about the vaccination process.’

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