Medical professionals have been leading online vaccine debates urging members of the BAME ‘don’t die of ignorance’ after a low take up of the jab.
As many as 50 per cent of the black, asian and minority ethnic community have refused to take the vaccine and health professionals have been answering questions at a series of seminars to dispel real fear, anxiety and mistrust.
A lot of the scaremongering has been generated on social media and doctors, nurses, faith and community leaders want decisions, to have or not to have the jab, to be informed by facts rather than misinformation, lies or hearsay. Among the more creative stories circulating is that the vaccine can change your physical appearance and that you could grow a tail!
A panel discussion organised by Croydon BME asking ‘should we take the vaccine?’ saw four doctors and a faith minister answer questions at the online event which was attended by 800 people.
Croydon BME Forum has joined forces with local organisations in a bid to inform the black community about the Covid-19 vaccines following the recent low uptake.
A recent study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that 21 per cent of black people over the age of 80, who are currently eligible to have the vaccine, have been vaccinated compared to 43 per cent of their white counterparts.
Other studies have found that BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities of all ages are unlikely to have the jab when offered. This is despite the fact black people are twice as likely to die from the virus.
Thornton Heath GP, Dr Agnelo Fernandes said, “Over 800 Croydon residents have now died of coronavirus and many more have been seriously ill. We now have a way of protecting ourselves. Getting vaccinated gives us and our loved ones the best protection against this awful virus. These vaccines are safe and effective and it is an honour to be able to protect our patients and help local people get through this pandemic.”
Andrew Brown, CEO at Croydon BME Forum, said: “Covid-19 has disproportionately affected people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Many more are dying from the virus, yet many from these communities are refusing to be vaccinated when asked.
“We know many have concerns, which is why they are hesitant to take the vaccine, so over the next few months we will be engaging with local communities to give them a chance to ask experts about the vaccine so that they can make an informed decision.
The BME Forum are also running more workshops over the next couple of months visit: www.cbmeforum.org
Former mayor Humayun Kabir, who was hospitalised with Covid but has now recovered said: “I have been in touch with many elderly BAME community and particularly some Bangladeshi families in Croydon, some of them are elderly parents of second generation and I have explained to them the benefit of the vaccination. Most of them are fine and happy to be vaccinated. Those who were not keen, they were scared and brought the issues of lack of trial. However, since more people are now being vaccinated, the level of confidence and attitude is shifting positively in my view.”
Cllr Kabir has organised a seminar with panel members and speakers representing many Croydon organisations among the Bangladeshi, Tamil, HIndu, and Afghanistan communities.
The Zoom meeting is on Thursday (Feb 22) 6.30pm to 8.30pm. For more information email Cllr Kabir on: firstname.lastname@example.org