Fewer than 60% of black Britons over the age of 70 have had their Covid vaccine


Fewer than 60% of black Britons over the age of 70 have had their Covid vaccine – while rate is 91% in white adults, official data shows

  • Office for National Statistics found just 58% of black African Brits over 70 had received first dose by March 11 
  • Nationally, uptake in over-70s was 90.2% when all ethnic groups were included, with rates highest in whites
  • Muslims were the religious group least likely to take vaccine, with only 72.3% of over-70s getting one so far

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Four in 10 black elderly people in England have not had their coronavirus vaccine, official figures show in the first major breakdown of jab rates among ethnic minorities.

A report published today by the Office for National Statistics found just 58.8 per cent of black African Brits over the age of 70 had received at least one dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s vaccine by March 11.

The ONS said that, nationally, uptake in the over-70s was 90.2 per cent when all ethnic groups were included, with rates highest among whites (91.3 per cent) and Indians (86.2 per cent). 

After black African Brits, the poorest rates were recorded in black Caribbeans (68.7 per cent), Bangladeshis (72.7) and Pakistanis (74 per cent). The report included almost all over-70s who went for their jab in England.

It also found that Muslims were the religious group least likely to take the vaccine, with only 72.3 per cent of over-70s getting one so far, followed by Buddhists (78.1 per cent). 

People who were disabled were also slightly less likely to have been vaccinated compared to healthy people of the same age. The reasons for this are not totally clear.

Ben Humberstone, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS, said: ‘Vaccination rates are markedly lower amongst certain groups, in particular amongst people identifying as black African and black Caribbean, those identifying as Muslim, and disabled people. These differences remain after accounting for geography, underlying health conditions and certain indicators of socio-economic inequality.’  

Jab hesitancy among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people has been a theme throughout the rollout, with language barriers, a mistrust in Government and misinformation online thought to be fuelling scepticism.

The Government last month launched an advertising blitz to tackle the problem amid fears that rates will become even poorer as the scheme moves down to younger people who are less vulnerable to Covid but still spread it. 

A report published today by the Office for National Statistics found just 58.89 per cent of black African Brits over the age of 70 had received at least one dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca 's vaccine by March 11

A report published today by the Office for National Statistics found just 58.89 per cent of black African Brits over the age of 70 had received at least one dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca ‘s vaccine by March 11

The report found that Muslims were the religious group least likely to take the vaccine, with only 72.3 per cent of over-70s getting one so far, followed by Buddhists (78.1 per cent)

The report found that Muslims were the religious group least likely to take the vaccine, with only 72.3 per cent of over-70s getting one so far, followed by Buddhists (78.1 per cent)

The ONS calculated that black Brits were up to seven times less likely to get the jab than their white peers

The ONS calculated that black Brits were up to seven times less likely to get the jab than their white peers

People who were disabled were also slightly less likely to have been vaccinated compared to healthy people of the same age. The reasons for this are not totally clear

People who were disabled were also slightly less likely to have been vaccinated compared to healthy people of the same age. The reasons for this are not totally clear

Those in the most affluent areas were more likely to have received their Covid jab than those in the most deprived areas

Those in the most affluent areas were more likely to have received their Covid jab than those in the most deprived areas

Ministers are working with more than 50 ethnic minority TV channels and radio stations that broadcast in 13 different languages to tackle anti-vaxx misinformation.

More than 90 faith, healthcare provider networks, influencers and experts from a range of communities have been recruited to hold Q&As to address people’s concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine.  

Officials are also working with the BBC World Service to produce videos on key questions from South Asian groups in Urdu, Punjabi, Tamil, Gujarati, and Sylheti. 

The ONS report linked vaccine data from the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS) and its own statistics based on NHS numbers to estimate jab rates in different groups. It included 94 per cent of the millions of elderly people who were invited for their jabs by March 11. 

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said earlier this month that misinformation about fertility and the jabs was driving the hesitancy.

He revealed Government focus groups and polling had shown much of the wariness toward the jabs centered around ‘issues of fertility’.

Speaking to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, he added the problem was ‘proving to be sadly quite potent’ among both men and women. 

Mr Zahawi admitted that data on specific rates of vaccine hesitancy and refusals were not held centrally, meaning the exact number of people turning it down was not known. Ministers had previously been relying on surveys to estimate the scale of the problem. 

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