Vaccine uptake lowest across all ethnic minorities

Data from a detailed study conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that vaccine uptake is lowest across all ethnic minorities as calls for efforts to rebuild trust in public health to help encourage greater vaccine participation to grow.

The research showed that Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities trust the vaccine the least, with experts pointing towards misleading or fake news about the vaccine causing their concerns.

Figures highlighted that even if socioeconomic factors and underlying health conditions are accounted for, all ethnic minorities have lower vaccine uptake than their white counterparts. This suggests that poverty levels and locations are only small factors with the vaccine gap posing a great concern.

It revealed that Black Caribbean and Black African people have the lowest vaccination uptake figures in the country with just 58.8% and 68.7% respectively while just 72.2% and 74% of those who identify as Bangladeshi or Pakistani, have received their vaccines, despite making up one in eight of the population. To put this into perspective, this is in contrast to 86.2% of the white British population.

Studies have shown that trust is one of the biggest factors, with Black African people being up to 7.4 times more likely to not receive the jab in comparison to those who are White British. The government’s scientific advisers have argued that the lack of trust has been caused by structural and institutional racism and discrimination.

As a result, there have been extensive efforts in the UK to encourage ethnic minorities to take up the vaccine. Recently, comedian Sir Lenny Henry launched an ‘open letter’ to the black community. Sir Lenny addressed to “mums, dads, grandparents, uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, daughters, sons and cousins”. Sir Lenny also encouraged them to recognise the “legitimate worries and concerns”. The appeal has been signed by many prominent celebrities including YouTuber KSI, actress Thandie Newton and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor amongst others.

Last month, a TV campaign led by actor Adil Ray and starring Cricketer Moeen Ali, Olympian Denise Lewis and Comedian Romesh Ranganathan looked to address the issue and encourage ethnic minorities to get vaccinated.

These efforts are hoping to have the desired effect and encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated in order to return to normality and ensure that the health and safety of the UK is maintained. Making great strides to address the lower turnout now will also be instrumental in addressing UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing) by 2030. Although the pandemic has hindered the progress, the goal will be difficult to achieve if vaccines are not being made available and are not being carried out at all.