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Covid Vaccination Rates Are Lower For All Ethnic Groups Than For White Over-50s, New Figures Show

The uptake of the coronavirus vaccine is lower in all ethnic groups than for white British over-50s (Alamy)

3 min read

Government is being urged to do more to improve uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine in the UK's BAME community after new figures reveal that all ethnic groups have a worse vaccine take-up than white adults.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Black Brits have the lowest rates, followed by people from Pakistani backgrounds, while there is a clear differentiation by religious affiliation as well as socio-economic group.

Their study of vaccinations for over-50s between December 2020 and 12 April this year shows for those identifying as White British, 93.7% of people have had their first jab.

That figure drops to just 66.8% for people from a Black Caribbean background, 71.2% for Black African, and 78.4% for those identifying as Pakistani.

The ONS said: “The difference in vaccination rates between those identifying as White Other and White British was noticeably greater within the 50 to 69 years age group, than among those aged 70 years and over.

“While there was great disparity in vaccination rates between Black Caribbean and White British groups for all ages, this disparity was starker within those aged 50 to 69 years.”

They said accounting for differences in geography, socio-demographic factors and underlying health conditions “does not fully explain the lower vaccination rates among ethnic minority groups”.

With regards to religion, the lowest rates are among those who identified as Muslim (78.8%) and Buddhist (83.3%), but after adjustment the ONS said those identifying as Sikh and Hindu had a higher probability of being vaccinated than those in the Christian group.

There was also a relationship between proficiency in English, as recorded in the 2011 census, and vaccination rates, with those who do not speak the language down at 75%.

For or those born outside of the UK, vaccination rates were at 82.5%, when compared with those born in here at 93.3%Hugh Stickland from the ONS said: “Vaccination rates in the over 50s in England are lower in all ethnic minority groups compared with their White British counterparts, with the lowest rates in those who identify as Black Caribbean and Black African.

“Lower vaccination rates were also observed in those who identify as Muslim, disabled people, and those living in more deprived areas.

“This is broadly similar to the groups who express vaccine hesitancy. However, the reasons for lower uptake are likely to be complex, including for example being unable to travel to a vaccination centre.”

In response, the MP Caroline Lucas, vice-chair of the parliamentary group on Coronavirus, said: “This is more evidence of the persistence of vaccine hesitancy among some ethnic minority and disadvantaged communities.   

“The work that’s been done with some minority groups, engaging with the local community, building trust and working with places like mosques and temples shows it is possible to overcome deep-seated mistrust and improve vaccine take-up. 

“But it needs to be done at grassroots level, not imposed from Whitehall.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care said: “Vaccines are our way out of this pandemic – they’re safe, effective and already saving thousands of lives - and today’s ONS statistics show vaccine confidence remains high.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we are working with the NHS, local government, community and faith groups to ensure no-one is left behind.

“The success of our vaccination programme is powered by the trust of the British people in the approved Covid-19 vaccines, and we are building on this every day with a range of initiatives to remove barriers to getting a jab, from the Vaccine Uptake Plan to multicultural media campaigns and multilingual communications to provide advice and information about vaccines.”  

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