Socialist Worker

Vaccine hesitancy a result of racism 

Issue No. 2738

Vaccine

There's a reason why some black people are unsure about receiving the jab (Pic: U.S. Secretary of Defense/Flickr)


Who’s to blame if black people refuse the jab?

Newspapers last weekend were filled with reports that black people in Britain will refuse the coronavirus vaccine.

A University of Essex study showed that some 71.8 percent of “black or black British” people surveyed said they were either unlikely or very unlikely to get vaccinated.

Some journalists were quick to make the assumption that black people’s reticence was due to “superstitious” beliefs and falling for “fake news”.

But there are many valid reasons why black people in Britain are sceptical about the state and the provision of healthcare.

Racism impacts every area of health—from birth, where black women are a staggering five times more likely than white women to die in pregnancy or childbirth—to death. 

For instance, studies show black ethnic groups face above average rates of dementia, but are less likely to get a timely diagnosis.

Genuine

Dr Trisha Greenhaigh argues that health authorities need to form “genuine partnerships” with communities most at risk from Covid-19.

That means involving black people in the design of the vaccination programme.

That could mean planning specific publicity campaigns, choosing where to make vaccinations available, and finding out exactly what is putting some people off getting vaccinated— and addressing their concerns.

It means giving black people ownership of the programme, rather than leaving it in the hands of a government mired in racism.

Greenhaigh says, “If you asked inner-city minority ethnic communities to design a vaccination programme that worked for them, I bet half of Old Etonians would feel uncomfortable participating”.


A third of patients ill again 

Almost a third of recovered Covid-19 patients will end up back in hospital within five months—and one in eight will die, shocking new figures have shown.

Research by Leicester university and the Office for National Statistics found there is a devastating long-term toll on survivors of severe coronavirus. Many people are developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions.

Out of 47,780 people discharged from hospital during the first wave, 29.4 percent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and over 12 percent died.

The figures mean the government’s calculation of the Covid-19 deaths, which only includes those who die within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, are misleading. 

Thousands of deaths are simply not being counted. It is now vital the NHS puts in place a comprehensive monitoring programme for all Covid-19 patients, including those suffering with long term symptoms.


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