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Over four in 10 black people are vaccine hesitant



More than four in 10 black British adults reported they were vaccine hesitant, the highest of all ethnic groups, official statistics show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, released on 8 March, found although ‘positive vaccine sentiment’ had increased from 78% in December to 94% at the end of February, it was lowest among young people, black people, parents and people living in deprived areas of England.

A total of 44% of black adults reported vaccine hesitancy – compared to 17% of mixed adults, 16% of Asian adults, 8% of white adults, and 18% of Chinese adults or adults from other ethnic groups.

Public policy analyst at the ONS Tim Vizard: ‘Over the past three months, we’ve seen people become increasingly positive about the Covid-19 vaccines, with over nine in ten adults saying they would have it if offered, or having already had it.

‘Of those who are hesitant about receiving the vaccine, it’s younger and black adults who are most likely to say this, with concerns around side effects, long-term effects and how well the vaccine works being the most common reasons.’

The ONS also found around one in six adults aged 16 to 29 years reported vaccine hesitancy, compared with just 1% of adults aged 70 or over. In deprived areas of England, the figure was 16% compared to 7% in the least deprived areas, based on England’s Index of Multiple Deprivation data. 

In addition, it revealed 16% of parents living with a dependent child aged under five reported vaccine hesitancy, twice as many as among non-parents or parents not living with a dependent child (one under 16 or between 16 and 18 and in full-time education).

Other ONS statistics, released on 9 March found, found weekly deaths involving coronavirus in the over-80s in England and Wales have fallen 79% since a peak five weeks ago.

There were 1,118 Covid-19 deaths in adults aged 80 and over in the week ending 26 February – a fall from 5,326 deaths involving coronavirus in this age group in the week ending 22 January.

Public health consultant Dr Catherine Hefferman’s guide on how to manage Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in patients was published by Nursing in Practice last month.