Millions of people vaccinated and rapid progress: the UK vaccination program has been a success story so far. But there are also downsides – the reasons are social problems. The royal family wants to help.
The numbers sound impressive. Almost every third adult in Great Britain has already received a first vaccination against Corona, hundreds of thousands are added every day, the number of new infections is falling steadily. With national pride, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet members announce new progress every day.
And yet there is a bitter note in the jubilation. Because the vaccination campaign, which has been running for a good two months, is obviously not reaching everyone in Great Britain – blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities are significantly less willing to take the protective spade.
The worries are great. “If a group is not vaccinated, the virus will track it down and rage like a wildfire,” warned State Secretary Nadhim Zahawi recently. Government advisors believe that one reason for the reluctance is social networks.
The head of the NHS national health service, Steven Simons, spoke of a “pandemic of disinformation”. False reports and conspiracy theories are spread via messenger services: that the vaccination affects fertility or that, on average, a stay tracker is hidden.
Distrust of government agencies
Such messages get stuck with the socially disadvantaged – and this includes many blacks, Asians and members of other minorities, abbreviated to BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic). But that’s just one part of the story. In the group, there is generally great distrust of government agencies.
The re is a lot of suspicion about vaccines among black people.” In the London borough of Croydon, for example, many black patients would refuse a vaccination, he explains in an interview with the German press agency.
The Royal College of General Practitioners Association of General Practitioners is also concerned about the relatively low participation – and willingness – of minorities. Majeed emphasizes: “This is a big problem, especially since members of these communities are at a higher risk of dying from Covid.”
Many live in poverty
The sociologist Ali Meghji from the University of Cambridge emphasizes the difficult social conditions in which many BAME members live. “Although they live in smaller properties on average than white Brits, they are twice as likely to live with four or more people in one household,” says Meghji. “Almost half of black or Pakistani children live in poverty and more than half of Bangladeshi children.”
Studies have shown that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in the UK are at an “alarmingly” higher risk of dying from or with Covid-19. Because people from these South Asian countries lived more often in disadvantaged areas and in large households with several generations.
The virus can spread much more strongly in the cramped spaces. In addition, they work far more often in professions where there is a higher risk of corona – such as taxi drivers, kiosk salespeople or shop owners.
Prince Charles promotes vaccinations
The concerns have also reached the royal family. On (today) Thursday (11.30 a.m.) heir to the throne Prince Charles wants to advertise the vaccination in a video message to the business association British Asian Trust. It made him sad to hear that for many people the challenges of the “different acceptance” of the vaccines would be even more difficult, it said in advance.
But experts emphasize that the government is partly responsible for the sluggish acceptance. “She didn’t want to deal with the issue of ethnic inequality in relation to Covid-19,” complains sociologist James Nazroo of the University of Manchester. Rather, the government ignored this question. He demands that the government rethink its priorities.
Vaccination in seniors is making good progress
So far, the authorities – apart from the frontline nursing and medical staff – have strictly followed age when vaccinating. Quite successful, because the overwhelming number of people over 75 have already received their first dose. However, the proportion of BAME members in this age group is low.
“Members of ethnic minorities age faster biologically due to the social and economic inequalities with which they are confronted,” said Nazroo of the dpa. “This means that these endangered people are not included in the current prioritization.” Rather, the sociologist demands, when distributing the vaccine, socially disadvantaged areas should be taken into account in a more targeted manner.
Great Britain wants to offer all adults in the country a vaccination against the coronavirus by the end of July. “We want to offer all adults a vaccination by the end of July, this will help us to protect the most vulnerable and to be able to relax restrictions faster,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday after a government release. To date, more than 17 million people in the UK have received a first corona vaccine, almost one in three adults.