Are BAME community members more hesitant about being vaccinated?
With over 5m people having received their first dose of the vaccine, worrying news is emerging that care home staff are most likely to refuse the offer of a vaccination.
Care staff are disproportionately drawn from BAME communities and we wanted to look at why this might be a factor in this.
A recent poll by the Royal Society of Public Health suggested that 76% of all people were happy to get their jabs when advised to by their GP, with only 8% saying they would not. However, only 57% of people from a BAME community were happy to do so and only 55% from south Asian communities.
This BBC news article suggests that this might be because of fake news circulating via social media and language barriers preventing mainstream news and media from reaching these communities. This is backed up by the findings of the RSPH poll which saw many of those who initially expressed doubts being persuaded by more information from their GPs.
There have been reports in Birmingham of up to 50% of those invited to have the vaccine, refusing their appointments in areas with large south Asian communities. Civic leaders have been working with those communities and rates have improved.
This report in The Eastern Eye newspaper details some of the false rumours that have been circulated and highlights the work beng done by Doctors and others from BAME communities to reassure people that the vaccine is safe. A major push is underway across 60 Councils with high BAME populations, supported with £23m of new Government funding.
A British Medical Journal research paper looked at several studies to try and define reasons behind increased vaccine hesitancy amongst BAME communities more generally. Religious and cultural factors were seen to influence decisions about the HPV vaccine, and a belief that there were physiological differences between white and BAME peoples led to a belief that BAME communities felt they were at greater risk of suffering side-effects. There is no evidence for the latter from any study of side-effects from vaccinations.
Our view remains that vaccines and vaccination help prevent infectious diseases which would kill millions more people if we didn’t have them. That goes for all communities and all ethnicities.
So, please, #GetYourJabs!
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