Asians Reluctant to Take Covid-19 Vaccine: UK Study

LONDON: Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME), including people of Indian origin in the UK, are reluctant to take the vaccine against Covid-19. This was the result of a new study on Wednesday calling on the UK government to launch more targeted campaigns.
With nearly 138,000 people enrolled across the country in the UK in the first week of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine’s launch, the study commissioned by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) found that three in four (76 percent) of the British public concerned would take a Covid-19 vaccine if advised by their doctor. Only 8 percent say that this is very unlikely.
However, it found that only 57 percent of those with a BAME background (199 respondents) were likely to accept the vaccine, compared to 79 percent of white respondents.
Confidence in vaccines was lowest among those of Asian descent, of whom only 55 percent were likely to say yes, according to the study.
“We have known for years that different communities in the NHS (National Health Service) have different levels of satisfaction, and more recently we have found that anti-vaccination messages are specifically targeted at different groups, including different ethnic or religious communities,” said Christina Marriott , Managing Director of RSPH.
“But it is precisely these groups that have suffered the most from Covid. They remain at the greatest risk of getting sick and dying the most. The government, the NHS and local public health must therefore work quickly and proactively with these communities. And her most effective way of working will be with the local community groups, “she said.
Previous studies have shown Covid-19 to affect the UK’s ethnic minorities more, with working and living conditions largely responsible for the inequality of higher mortality rates among BAME groups.
It is also believed that comorbidities such as blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes contribute to making people of South Asian descent more susceptible to serious illnesses from the deadly virus.
“These results are not surprising given previous experience with the reach of vaccines for BAME communities, but they appear to be particularly worrying as it suggests that the Covid vaccine may not reach communities that are disproportionately affected,” said Jabeer Butt, Chief Executive of the UK Race Equality Foundation, said in relation to the latest poll.
“It is imperative that the NHS use trusted channels such as BAME-led voluntary organizations to address and address concerns from BAME communities and ensure that the disproportionate effects of Covid are not exacerbated,” he said.
The RSPH report highlighted the encouraging finding that BAME respondents who were not vaccinated were receptive to offers of additional health information from their general practitioner.
Over a third (35 percent) said they would likely change their minds and get the sting if their GP gave more information on how effective it is – almost twice as many as the 18 percent of whites who don’t initially were ready.
According to the RSPH, the latest results build on a study earlier this year that found ethnic minority parents almost three times more likely than white parents to reject a Covid-19 vaccine for themselves and their children.
The survey also found that the lower-income groups are significantly more reluctant. Only 70 percent of low earners are likely to say yes to the trick, compared to 84 percent of high earners.
Last week the UK began phasing out the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, starting with the elderly and workers on the front lines as the categories at highest risk of dying from coronavirus.
Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who is responsible for launching the vaccine, tweeted that between December 8 and December 15, 137,897 people received their first doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech burst.
He described it as a “really good start” for the program.
The government wants to offer a vaccine to all over-50s and younger adults with health problems – around 25 million people.
The National Audit Office, however, warns that “complex logistical challenges” remain.
With a number of other vaccines in the pipeline, including the Oxford University vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, the government is keen to get the message across for a widespread containment of the bumps to get out of the current cycle of lockdowns in controlling the spread of infection.
The UK’s regulator, the Medicines and Health Products Regulator (MHRA), has repeatedly stressed that vaccines will only be released for mass introduction after “rigorous” safety tests, although the process is being speeded up due to the urgency of finding an effective vaccine against the pandemic that wreaked havoc around the world.