• Sunday, July 03, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Worry over ‘endemic’ Covid levels in ethnic minorities

Members of the public receive their Covid-19 booster shot at a NHS bus outside an Asda Supermarket in the town of Farnworth, near Manchester. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Joseph Timan

ETHNIC minorities with lower uptake of the booster are not seeing the same fall in Covid cases as the wider population in Manchester, public health bosses say.

The recent rise in the city’s infection rate has mostly affected white British people who have accounted for more than 60 per cent of cases since October.

But in the last week, ethnic minorities have started accounting for more cases.

In particular, Manchester’s Pakistani population now makes up more than 10 per cent of the total number of cases in the city – almost doubling the proportion.

The proportion of Covid cases in the city’s Chinese, Indian and Bangladeshi communities has also increased as the figures fall for white British people.

Manchester’s director of public health David Regan told the health and wellbeing board on Wednesday (26) that the city has past the latest peak.

Manchester’s director of public health David Regan.

However, he raised concerns about how high the ‘endemic’ infection rate will be when the number of cases level off – and who Covid will continue to affect.

He said: “What’s worrying for me is, up until the last few weeks, the majority of cases was mainly our white British population in the city, whereas in previous waves, it had been our black and minority ethnic populations more affected.

“But in the last week, we’ve seen that shift back. So in our Pakistani community, there’s been a higher proportion [of cases].

“It’s more of a prediction than anything concrete yet that we are likely to see higher case rates in those communities that have already been most affected by previous waves.”

Regan also raised concerns about low vaccine uptake in some communities.

Around 70 per cent of Manchester’s Chinese, Indian and Bangladeshi population who are eligible had already received their booster vaccine by January 23.

But only 53 per cent of the eligible Pakistani population been boostered so far.

The African community has also had a low uptake of the booster at 51.4 per cent.

And the third vaccine dose uptake by those registered as ‘any other Black, African or Caribbean background’, Arab and Roma is below the 50 per cent mark.

Overall, nearly 70 per cent of people who are eligible for the booster have had it.

The ethnic minority with the highest uptake is the Irish community at 82.3 per cent, while 77.2 per cent of the eligible white population has had the booster overall.

Everyone aged 16 and above can get a booster shot 91 days after their second dose of the vaccine unless they tested positive within the previous four weeks.

This data only includes people who are eligible for the Covid booster vaccine.

Manchester council has been targeting areas where vaccine uptake is low.

(Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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