Black and Asian Britons have higher COVID-19 death rates


LONDON – Almost two years after the start of the pandemic, blacks and members of other racial and ethnic minorities in Britain are still dying from the coronavirus at higher rates than white residents, likely due to higher vaccination rates weak, a government-commissioned report said on Friday.

Research has found that vaccination has dramatically reduced COVID-19-related death rates for people of all ethnicities. But black and South Asian Britons are dying at higher rates even though whites are more likely to test positive for the virus.

“In the first two waves, the higher death rate seen among ethnic minorities was mainly due to their higher risk of infection compared to whites – especially in older groups,” said Dr Raghib Ali , independent adviser to the UK government on COVID-19 and ethnicity.

In recent months, Ali said, “We are seeing lower infection rates among ethnic minorities than among whites, but hospital admissions and death rates are still higher, the pattern corresponds. now at vaccination levels in high risk groups ”.

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British health authorities have launched information campaigns and worked with community groups and religious leaders to tackle vaccine reluctance among ethnic minorities. Ali said they had had some success, with vaccination rates among the elderly in black Africa and Pakistan seeing the largest increase of any group in the six months leading up to October.

But overall vaccination rates remain highest among whites and lowest among blacks. About 90% of adults in Britain have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but the figure is less than 80% among Asian communities and less than two-thirds among people of black African and black Caribbean descent.

The government appointed Ali after it became clear that some ethnic groups were hit harder than others by COVID-19.

Research has highlighted several factors. Certain ethnic groups have a higher prevalence of underlying health problems and are more likely to live in large multigenerational households. People from ethnic minorities also occupy a large part of the frontline jobs, such as taxi and public transport drivers, who experienced high infection rates at the start of the pandemic.

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Equality Minister Kemi Badenoch said “the understanding of how COVID-19 affects different ethnic groups has changed since the start of the pandemic.”

“We now know that factors such as a person’s job, where they live and the number of people they live with impact their susceptibility to the virus, and it is imperative that those most at risk receive their booster vaccine, ”she said.

The UK government aims to offer everyone 18 and over a third booster dose of the vaccine by the end of January. Health officials hope the increased protection will help keep the new omicron variant at bay, even if it is found to be more resistant to vaccines than other strains.

Much remains unknown about the variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart vaccines.

Britain has confirmed several dozen cases of omicron – including a band linked to a concert by pop group Steps in Glasgow – and authorities say the variant is spreading in the community. But the delta variant remains by far the dominant strain.

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Britain has recorded more than 145,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest death toll in Europe after Russia.

While several other European countries have imposed new restrictions on daily living or introduced vaccination warrants, Britain has held back, although masks are once again mandatory in shops and on public transport.

Amid corporate nervousness that holiday season commerce is threatened by the new variant, the Conservative government has urged people to continue shopping and socializing.

“The message to people, I think, is quite simple, which is to keep calm, carry on with your Christmas plan,” said Conservative Party leader Oliver Dowden.


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