Anti-vaxxers are targeting BAME groups, warns leading nurse

15 February 2021, 15:41

Anti-vaxxers have particularly targeted BAME groups, warns leading nurse
Anti-vaxxers have particularly targeted BAME groups, warns leading nurse. Picture: PA/LBC

By Sam Sholli

People in BAME communities have been targeted by "lots of anti-vaxxers" which may explain vaccine hesitancy, the Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing has told LBC.

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair made the remark to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty in response to a study which showed that lower proportions of black and Asian staff in a hospital trust have come forward for a Covid -19 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 has also come 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.

Dame Donna said she was keen to "encourage all staff, from whatever, group to take the vaccine", adding that it represents "the only way out of the pandemic".

However, she also told Shelagh: "You cannot put aside that there are lots of anti-vaxxers that have particularly targeted the BAME groups and [have been] really causing vaccine hesitancy."

She added: "There's a huge amount of mistrust that has been generated. They've targeted the real concerns in terms of their religious beliefs.

Asked what falsehoods people in BAME communities have been told, Dame Donna explained: "So things like the vaccine causes infertility, the vaccine has got meat...[that it's made from foetuses.

"[These are] real things that fundamentally challenge people's beliefs. And [in] whatever minority ethnic group, you'll find somebody that has strong beliefs about that in there."

Sir Geoff Palmer told Iain Dale that in the black community people had become "very suspicious" of the Government, a distrust that began at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

He said: "If we look at people presenting the information and advice, they're all white. In terms of Government and in terms of expertise and therefore you have a situation where we're looking at a problem we have in the country of poor representation, especially of expertise.

"That in fact is another area of suspicion."

Separately, the UK has reached its target of giving more than 15 million people across the UK their first dose of a vaccine by February 15, paving the way for the next phase of the rollout - covering the next five priority groups including the over 50s - to begin.

The Government is aiming to get an offer of a vaccine to the estimated 17 million people in the next five groups by the end of April.

The army commander of the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout has told LBC he is “absolutely” confident 32 million jabs will be reached by the end of April.