Call for daily figures on vaccine rollout to different ethnic groups

Jemma Crew, PA Social Affairs Correspondent
·2-min read

The Government must provide daily figures on the rollout of coronavirus vaccines to black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) communities, Labour has said.

The party said people from BAME backgrounds have been hardest hit by the pandemic and must not be “left behind” as the vaccination programme progresses.

This week, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said he is concerned the take-up of the jab may be lower in BAME communities and is working with local mayors and councils to get through to “hard-to-reach groups”.

Coronavirus – Sat Nov 28, 2020
Nadhim Zahawi (Danny Lawson/PA)

It follows a document released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, which found “marked difference existed by ethnicity, with black ethnic groups the most likely to be Covid-19 vaccine hesitant, followed by Pakistani/Bangladeshi groups”.

The undated report, released last week, cited research showing 72% of black or black British groups and 42% of Pakistani/Bangladeshi groups said they were unlikely/very unlikely to get a coronavirus vaccine, compared to 18% of all participants.

Among the barriers to the vaccine uptake is the perception of risk, low confidence in the vaccine, and lack of endorsement from trusted providers and community leaders, it added.

Labour is calling for analysis of the impact of pre-existing health inequalities on low uptake, and a communications strategy which reaches all communities and tackles disinformation.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner is hosting a virtual roundtable meeting with black faith and community leaders in the West Midlands on Thursday to discuss what the Government can do to ensure good uptake.

She said: “Black, Asian and ethnic minority nurses, doctors and volunteers are on the front line of our vaccine rollout and I thank them for their service to our country.

“This crisis has had a disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, and it is so important that the vaccine roll out doesn’t leave any community behind.”

The NHS currently provides daily updates on how many vaccines have been given.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Its weekly reports also include the number of doses that have gone to adults over 80, but are not broken down by other priority groups or by ethnicity.

Marsha de Cordova, shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, said: “We need to vaccinate Britain, and that means a plan to ensure that black, Asian and ethnic minority people benefit from the vaccine.

“The Government must publish regular data showing the progress of the vaccine roll out among ethnic minority communities, and take every step possible to encourage take-up.

“That means a vaccine communications strategy that reaches every community and a thorough analysis with an accompanying action plan to address the impact that pre-existing structural inequalities are having on low uptake.

“Black, Asian and ethnic minority people are being hit hardest by this virus.

“The Government must ensure they are not left behind by the vaccine rollout.”