Take up of the coronavirus vaccine has been much higher than expected. A quarter of the British adult population is now vaccinated.
Full credit must be given to NHS doctors and nurses. They’ve delivered this with an efficiency that contrasts with the chaos of Dido Harding’s privatised test and trace programme, which wasted £22 billion pounds.
But Covid-19 is still disproportionately hitting black and Asian communities.
In Tower Hamlets where I work, south Asians are contracting coronavirus at three times the rate of those of white ethnicity. And they have three times the death rates.
That is why it is so alarming that vaccine uptake is lower among south Asians and black people. For over-70s uptake among whites is 84 percent, compared to 67 percent among South Asians and 55 percent among black people.
But the gap is narrowing compared to a few weeks ago.
Local GP practices are reaching out to their patients and making WhatsApp videos to counter vaccine hesitancy.
It’s understandable that after decades of institutional racism within society and the NHS that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people become uncertain when anti-vax messages circulate.
After a local campaign we finally got central NHS approval to open a vaccine clinic at the London Muslim Centre next to the east London mosque.
This built on all the local work done over decades creating links between faith communities and socialists, and fighting racism both on and off our streets.
What we now need is the central government to allow local practices to directly vaccinate out of our GP surgeries and health centres. We need to go beyond remote vaccination centres.
And we need local flexibility to target BAME communities.
This is a risk which health secretary Matt Hancock seems unwilling to recognise in the centrally driven vaccination programme.
Dr Kambiz Boomla
Tower Hamlets, London
Demand change at G7 summit
This June the British government has invited the G7 world leaders to a summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, near St Ives.
They’ve chosen the luxury hotel and its private beach as a place that leaders and their entourages can land military helicopters. And keep themselves protected from protesters.
Tory prime minister Boris Johnson has said that the summit will focus on using green technology as a way of recovering from the Covid-19 crisis.
It’s a capitalist, technocrat vision of the way forward that is focused on big business profits rather than social justice.
In addition to the G7, Johnson has invited Indian prime Narendra Modi and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, and the government of South Korea.
In-person protest will be difficult.
But every town in Britain could organise a local event online or offline.
The G7 and this year’s additional guests bring together issues of sustainability, climate, racism and the treatment of minorities.
Johnson, Morrison, Modi and the US’s Joe Biden don’t represent the future—they represent catastrophe.
We might not be able to be on the streets in huge demonstrations. But we can still find ways to demand “Another World Is Possible” and make sure our protests are heard.
Treasurer, Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union group
Ocado bosses do not deserve their bonuses
I am appalled at the news that Ocado directors are being given such high value bonuses during a pandemic.
I’ve worked at a supermarket for minimum wage so I understand first hand how difficult and unrewarding a job in this environment can be.
But I can only imagine the further difficulties this pandemic presents. The pay disparity alone is disgusting.
The fact that Ocado is a grocery company, an essential service, seems to make it worse.
I have disabled and elderly relatives who live far away.
One of the only ways I can practically support them during the pandemic is delivering online shopping to them.
To know that mine and their money is going to provide extortionate bonuses, which could have otherwise gone towards my family’s care, is very upsetting.
Resist attack on gender neutral toilets
The government is currently running a consultation on “toilet provision for men and women”.
As a trans non-binary person I want to explain why this is of grave concern.
At first the wording of the consultation seems not to be an issue.
It talks about the problem with queuing for women’s toilets. But then it takes a turn into transphobic rhetoric that we see so often.
It mentions a number of points—but the main concern for me is around gender neutral toilets.
One of the focuses brought up in the consultation is the idea that gender neutral toilets are an attack on the safety of women.
This way of thinking is dangerous as in reality it leads to discrimination against trans woman. And also cis women who don’t fit the ideal of what a woman “should” look like.
Another thing presented is the idea that disabled toilets are a substitute for gender neutral toilets.
This ignores the needs of disabled people.
Please look the consultation up and respond to let the government know why what they’re proposing is wrong.
Sexism comes from above
The sexism that exists in society is pushed by Tory policy. They do little to help working class women. Working class women shoulder 86 percent of benefit cuts implemented by Tory led austerity.
The gender pay gap shows why working men and women need to unite to fight against sexism. We’re weaker divided and don’t benefit from oppression.
Refugees are welcome
Refugees aren’t illegal. Under international law refugees have to be treated fairly—the government is breaking the law.
Some of those wanting the Tories out said the refugee barracks could not be categorised as in “bad condition”. It still amuses me how most politicians currently can still dismiss, deny the experience of people asking for support.
Solidarity with strikers
British Gas cannot survive without loyal employees or customers. Let’s stand united and boycott them until they stop their bullying tactics.
Justice for Grenfell
The government is now handing out ten years of imprisonment for dodging coronavirus quarantine rules. But not a single day has been served inside for those responsible for the Grenfell fire.
Starmer is useless
The Tories are killing us all while Labour leader Keir Starmer is flying the British flag to stir up nationalist sentiments. We need a real alternative.