Vaccines minister pledges closer work to encourage BAME communities to have jabs

16 February 2021, 09:02 | Updated: 16 February 2021, 09:10

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The vaccines minister has said he will be stepping up work with local authorities to encourage BAME communities to have a coronavirus jab.

It comes amid growing concerns over vaccine hesitancy among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in the UK.

Nadhim Zahawi told LBC’s Nick Ferrari that 11% of the population “skewed more towards BAME communities” has said it will not take up the Government’s offer of a vaccine.

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He said he intends to get those people "the information to make that positive decision to have a vaccine which is good for them, it protects them, it protects their families it protects their community.”

He said: “What more can we do, we can share more data with local government which we are, so the directors of public health locally can see exactly the people who have had the first dose and are getting that protection and to help us reach those other people that we need to reach to make sure we get those numbers as high as we can get them.”

Mr Zahawi said he had been in Hackney, north-east London, on Saturday night where Hatzola, a volunteer-run ambulance service, was vaccinating people from the Hasidic and Haredi Jewish communities.

He said: “We vaccinated 364 people in the evening... when they can come out to be able to be vaccinated and by the way they weren’t only doing the Jewish community, they were doing the Muslims as well which was so beautiful to see the community coming together.”

It comes after the John Scott vaccination centre in Hackney said earlier this month that patient uptake is "really low" despite it being open to serve the boroughs of Hackney and City of London.

Meanwhile, a study revealed this week that lower proportions of black and Asian staff in a hospital trust have come forward for a vaccine compared to white staff.

According to the study, 70.9% of white staff at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust had got the jab, compared with 58.5% of South Asian staff and 36.8% of black staff. 

This came alongside a study which found that 72% of black Britons say they are unlikely to be vaccinated against the virus and many would refuse the jab.