A NEW study has revealed that lower proportions of black and Asian staff at a hospital trust have come forward to have a Covid-19 vaccine.
It said that 70.9 per cent of white staff at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust had received the jab, compared with 58.5 per cent of South Asian staff and 36.8 per cent of black staff, reported the BBC.
The study, conducted during 9 December to 3 February, was co-authored by Prof Kamlesh Khunti, a diabetes expert from the University of Leicester who is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
It also called for urgent action to prevent the disparities caused by the pandemic from being allowed to widen further.
The trust, where 36 per cent of staff are from minority ethnic backgrounds, has been running vaccination hubs for staff at each of its three hospital sites.
The report said that 12,278 staff from a total of 19,044 had come forward to have a jab since it was offered in mid-December.
The analysis further revealed much lower take-up among Pakistani and Bangladeshi healthcare staff (43.2 per cent) than the Indian cohort (60.3 per cent), the BBC reported. The study also noted a lower take-up among staff under 30.
Staff in this age range made up 18.7 per cent of the vaccinated group compared with 31.7 per cent in the group who had not come forward for a jab.
“These findings give significant cause for concern, as ethnic minority groups (especially those working in healthcare) are at higher risk of infection with coronavirus and adverse outcome from Covid-19, yet are not taking up this critical preventative intervention,” the report said.
“Furthermore, healthcare workers are an important source of health information for ethnic minority communities and so our findings may also have implications for vaccine uptake in the population at large.”
Dr Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said the organisation was ‘deeply concerned’ by the study.
“Amongst those most at risk of dying from Covid-19 are also those that are most vaccine-hesitant. More needs to be done to mediate and ensure accurate information, based upon facts, is targeted in culturally appropriate ways, to reach those who need the vaccination the most.”
University of Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The data is two weeks old and three in four Leicester hospital staff have now been vaccinated, with uptake rising across all ethnic groups, and others taking up the offer of a jab in their local community. We want everyone to get the jab when they are called to do so.”