NHS England will begin collecting data about ethnicity when people receive their Covid-19 vaccinations in a bid to tackle stigmas in certain ethnic groups.
Concerns had been mounting about hesitancy and poor take up of the vaccine among some BAME communities, owing to several factors including historic racial injustices as well as the spread of misinformation.
There are hopes that by recording ethnicity data, authorities will be able to identify where there are gaps in vaccine take up and any concerns can be addressed.
Dr Onkar Sahota, chairman of the London Assembly’s health committee, said: “This is a step in the right direction, but this should have been happening from the very start of the rollout. We know from recent studies that there is a disproportionately higher rate of vaccine hesitancy amongst BAME communities, who are in turn more vulnerable to the very worst impacts of the virus.
“Having access to vaccine uptake data recorded by ethnicity will help the Government, NHS and local authorities to discern where there might be gaps in the supply of doses, and where to target multi-lingual public health messaging campaigns to counteract misinformation and concerns towards the vaccine within the community”.
Some surveys had found that only 57 per cent of respondents from BAME backgrounds said they would accept a Covid-19 vaccine.
Many prominent Black and Asian politicians, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, have taken to social media to ease concerns over the vaccine and reiterate the importance of receiving it.
Yesterday, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi shared a video that featured Black MPs from both the Labour and Conservative parties discussing the importance of taking the vaccine and the disproportionate effect that Covid-19 has had on BAME communities.
— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) January 27, 2021
Data from the London Assembly last month revealed that there were higher rates of Covid-19 deaths in the most diverse boroughs of London, with poorer ratings of GP satisfaction and higher levels of poverty.