The Royal College of GPs is calling for a high-profile national campaign, supported by faith leaders and popular public figures from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities to support the effort to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake amongst groups who have been disproportionately impacted by the virus The results of a new College vaccine survey has found that 94% of GP respondents are experiencing a high uptake of the vaccine appointments being offered.
However, a College analysis of NHS England’s latest COVID-19 vaccination figures shows that 90.6% of all recipients of COVID-19 vaccines so far have been white. Comparing uptake with other ethnicities shows that people of mixed ethnicity, Asian and black are, respectively, approximately only 33, 47 and 64% as likely to receive the vaccine as white people.
The College is concerned that many ‘vaccine hesitant’ patients may belong to those communities that have been worst hit by the virus, potentially creating swathes across the country where COVID-19 may remain a threat long after it’s necessary.
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The COVID vaccines are set to get us out of this pandemic, but increasing the uptake of the vaccine amongst black, Asian and minority ethnic patients will require more than the efforts of GPs and their teams. If prominent figures from BAME communities work with the NHS to help bust the myths around the COVID vaccine and help deliver clear and relevant messages about its safety, it may very well save lives.”