New government data published this week, has revealed that covid related hospitalisation and deaths are higher in Black and south Asian people.
Infection rates have changed drastically since the UK’s first two waves of covid, when Black and Asian groups had a higher infection rate than white people. More recently, data has shown that White British people are more likely to get covid but have comparatively low death rates.
The data suggests that poor vaccine take up from Black and Asian ethnic groups could be to blame for the pattern in higher infection rates.
Dr Raghib Ali, the government’s independent adviser on Covid-19 and ethnicity, “In the third wave to date, a different pattern is emerging with infection rates in ethnic minorities now lower than in whites, but rates of hospital admissions and deaths are still higher, with the pattern now matching levels of vaccine uptake in older and other higher risk groups. I’m confident this is being driven by vaccination rates.”
“Although vaccine uptake in all ethnic minorities has increased very significantly over the last year, the proportion unvaccinated is roughly twice as high in south Asian people and four times as high in Black people,”
Amongst other factors, a greater likelihood of living in more densely populated areas, working in public-facing roles such as healthcare and living in larger multigeneration households could all be contributing to the higher risk of infection.
Oxford University gathered data which showed the vaccine coverage with different ethnic groups. The findings revealed that more than 90% of white people received their vaccine compared to around 70% amongst Black people and around 80% for south Asian people.
Dr Ali added: “This recent data is another reminder that the vaccines are the best way to protect yourselves and your elderly relatives, especially if you live in a multi-generational household, and it is never too late to come and take your first dose”.