People wait to receive an injection with a dose of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Baitul Futuh Mosque, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, March 28, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The take-up of Covid-19 vaccines was much lower among minority groups in the first three months of rollout in England, the Office for National Statistics said on Monday (March 29), amid concern the benefits of the programme are being unevenly felt.

The UK’s vaccine rollout is the fourth fastest in the world, with more than 30 million having received a first dose, a success which prime minister Boris Johnson is using to cautiously reopen society and the economy.

However, there is concern that the rollout is unevenly distributed, and fewer numbers in some Black and south Asian groups, which have suffered higher death rates, have received a Covid-19 shot.

“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,” ONS statistician Ben Humberstone said.

From December 8 to March 11, 90.2 per cent of people aged 70 years and older in England had received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

But among people identifying as Black African and Black Caribbean, vaccination rates were just 58.8 per cent and 68.7 per cent respectively, with take-up by people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds below 75 per cent

Take-up also varied by religion, with a vaccination rate of 72.3 per cent for Muslim people.

Celebrities and officials have encouraged minorities to accept the shots amid concern that vaccine hesitancy and misinformation was affecting take-up rates.

Polls have indicated that Black, Asian and other minority groups in Britain have more concerns about the vaccine’s reliability, while government advisers believe socioeconomic factors raise these groups’ risk of dying from Covid-19.


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