Haroon Siddique, The Guardian, December 16, 2020
People from minority ethnic backgrounds are less likely to take the coronavirus vaccine, according to polling for the Royal Society for Public Health.
Three-quarters (76%) of the 2,076 UK adults polled said they would take a Covid jab if advised to by their GP or another health professional, but among respondents from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds the proportion fell to 57%. For white respondents the figure was 79%.
However, among BAME respondents who were not willing to be vaccinated, 35% said they were likely to change their minds and get the jab if their GP gave them more information, compared with 18% of white people who were initially unwilling.
Numerous studies have shown Covid death rates in the UK for most ethnic minorities to be higher – significantly so in some cases – compared with white ethnic groups. A report published on Tuesday by parliament’s women and equalities committee found one of the causes of the disparity to be “entrenched health inequalities”.
The poll for the RSPH, carried out by Yonder between 4 and 6 December, found confidence was lowest among respondents of Asian ethnicity, with 55% likely to say yes to a jab.
Jabeer Butt, the 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.
“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.”