New health inequalities report urges to do survival analysis among minorities Representational image (iStock)
A new report on Covid-19 health inequalities in the UK has urged the government to measure the survival analysis among minorities over time and to oversee youth vaccine uptake.
The report published last week was prepared by equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, with support from the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit (RDU), on progress to address health inequalities due to the pandemic.
The report also suggested building on the success of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in reaching ethnic minority groups and applying this to future vaccination programmes.
According to the report, the government must ensure there is clarity in the communications about the need for Covid-19 boosters and the longer-term plan for the Covid-19 vaccination.
The government should continue to deliver clear messaging through trusted voices and via social media to reassure pregnant women that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe, it added.
Commenting on the report, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, the UK’s National Statistician, said: “The Race Disparity Unit won the ONS Research in Excellence award for their innovative work into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority groups. This work has demonstrated how research can be used to tackle inequalities in our society, and the powerful role that analysis can have in informing decisions.”
The report said that the NHS must continue to build trust in health services within ethnic minority groups through optimising and building on the local partnerships and networks established under the vaccination programme.
“To build confidence in future vaccination schemes and other health interventions, the National Institute for Health Research and the NHS Race and Health Observatory should seek to increase ethnic minority participation in clinical trials and research through methods such as promoting the INCLUDE Ethnicity Framework. ONS should collaborate with the other relevant health departments and consider how linking health and Census data could be improved and extended to facilitate more reliable, timely and detailed estimates of ethnic health disparities on a regular basis,” the report said.
“Relevant health departments and agencies should review and action existing requests for health data, and undertake an independent strategic review of the dissemination of healthcare data and the publication of statistics and analysis.”
The report further said that the government must address specific ethnic minority groups rather than a homogenous group (for example use of the term ‘BAME’)
The report added: “Public health communications do not stigmatise ethnic minorities when explaining that they may be more vulnerable or at higher risk.
The government should carry out a review of language and terminology around ethnicity to understand how to target messaging without stigmatising any particular group.
“The government should develop and provide materials in multiple languages and formats, including BSL, easy read and audible formats, to ensure content addresses any difficulties to reach diverse audiences. It should use community partners to co-create content and tailor communications that resonate with key audiences.”
In June 2020, prime minister Boris Johnson asked minister Badenoch to look at why Covid-19 was having a disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups and to consider how the government response to this could be improved.
Recent research by Oxford University has identified the gene responsible for doubling the risk of respiratory failure from Covid-19, carried by 61 per cent of people with South Asian ancestry.
Prime minister Johnson has accepted all the recommendations in the report in full, a statement said.