Understanding issues within minority ethnic communities will be “absolutely crucial” when the coronavirus vaccine is introduced, a GP has said when launching a review of vaccine ideas.
The study, carried out by the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, will look at the impact of Covid-19 and attitudes to the vaccine among people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). ).
It follows an opinion poll by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) that those from BAME backgrounds would be less likely to be vaccinated.
Dr Raj Kumar, GP and chair of the NHS Clinical Leaders Network, said: “In my career as a clinician and GP I have never met the mortality rates from a single infectious source as seen. me with Covid over the past nine months.
“We all know that it has a worse impact on members of the BAME community and there is a far more disproportionate number of deaths from this community.
“If there was a particular group of people who need to be targeted in getting 100% of the vaccine, it should be BAME groups.
“Ensuring that the outcomes of this learning and study are implemented effectively is absolutely essential and we need to take a focused approach.”
Dr Kumar said those from BAME backgrounds were less likely to have access to health services.
He told PA news agency: “We need to understand why. I know, as a GP there may be religious reasons because vaccines may contain animal products.
“But religious leaders have come out in support of developments and for these specific vaccines, animal products are not being used at all.
“We have already seen, in some parts of the country, leaders from mosques and temples say ‘this vaccine is very important for you to have, nothing in our religion says you should not have it’.
“If we have leaders in all those local areas delivering the same message I think we can deal with the percentage of people who say they are still unsure. ”
He said healthcare professionals had a “key role” in dealing with issues.
The research aims to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of ethnic groups during the pandemic, as well as attitudes towards vaccines, to ensure that communication and services are tailored to them.
Edna Boampong, deputy director of communications and partnership at Cheshire and Merseyside Care and Care Partnership, said: “When Covid first came up with it it highlighted the inequalities that exist across Cheshire and Merseyside.
“We recognized that the inequality gap was beginning to widen for people from BAME communities and seemed to be having a significant impact. ”
Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, regional commissioning director for NHS England and NHS Development, said: “We recognize that the risk of death from Covid-19 is higher in black, Asian and minority ethnic groups compared to white ethnic groups.
“We are urging everyone in these communities to take part in our inquiry to help the NHS understand perceptions and feelings about the virus and the vaccination program.”
The survey is available online at http://www.cheshireandmerseysidepartnership.co.uk/survey-landing-page.