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Call to prioritise minority ethnic groups for Covid vaccines

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People in high-risk minority ethnic groups must be prioritised for Covid immunisations, alongside a targeted publicity campaign, experts and politicians have said amid growing concerns over vaccine scepticism.

With figures on Monday recording more than 4m Covid vaccine doses now administered across the UK, and the rollout being expanded to all over-70s, public health experts and MPs called for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to be better protected.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has also raised concerns after research showed up to 72% of black people said they were unlikely or very unlikely to have the jab.

Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, urged Whitehall to begin a public health campaign. “We are concerned that recent reports show that people within BAME communities are not only more likely to be adversely affected by the virus but also less likely to accept the Covid vaccine, when offered it,” he said.

“As such, where appropriate, we’re calling for public health communications to be tailored to patients in BAME communities, to reassure them about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine and ultimately encourage them to come forward for their vaccination when they are invited for it.”

His remarks came as the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, admitted he feared some BAME communities could remain exposed to coronavirus despite high expected uptake of the jabs.

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Source: The Guardian, 18 January 2021

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