Coronavirus Vaccine: BAME People Aren’t Mentioned On The Priority List - Rugby and Daventry Radio Station Midlands UK            

Coronavirus Vaccine: BAME People Aren’t Mentioned On The Priority List

Written by on November 10, 2020

Article Published on Tuesday November 10, 2020 11:00 AM by


Coronavirus Vaccine: BAME People Aren’t Mentioned On The Priority List


Health secretary Matt Hancock in Downing Street earlier this year

People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are not mentioned in the priority list for a coronavirus vaccine – despite the health secretary saying they could be among “the first” way back in June.

On Tuesday it was announced a vaccine could be available for five million people by Christmas after Pfizer and BioNTech said their candidate had proved more than 90% effective in preventing the disease during clinical trials.

Interim guidance from the Independent Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVIV), which advises the government, lists 10 groups it deems high-risk and priority for a vaccine – but makes no mention of BAME people, despite itemising seven separate age categories.

  1. older adults resident in a care home and care home workers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over
  5. all those 65 years of age and over
  6. high-risk adults under 65 years of age
  7. moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
  8. all those 60 years of age and over
  9. all those 55 years of age and over
  10. all those 50 years of age and over

But in June Hancock said the government would consider BAME groups as a priority for a vaccine.

A man wearing a protective face mask passes a mural showing Black and Asian medical and transport workers, in Waterloo

He told a Downing Street press conference: “As we learn more about the virus we will continue to take into account which groups may be particularly vulnerable – including, for example, those from ethnic minority backgrounds – so that we can protect the most at risk first, should a vaccine become available, and get this country back on our feet as soon as we possibly can.”

The government on Monday repeatedly failed to answer HuffPost UK’s questions about whether it would be accepting the JCVI’s recommendations wholesale, or whether it had any idea why BAME people were not mentioned once on the list.

Nor could a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care tell HuffPost UK if BAME people were classed as high-risk or not, as per point 6 of the scale above.

They said: “We want as many people as possible to access the Covid-19 vaccine. The Independent Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVIV) advise government on which groups of people to prioritise, based on the characteristics of the vaccine when it becomes available and the nature of delivery, and we keep their advice under consideration.

“The committee’s interim advice is the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social care workers, then the rest of the population in order of age and risk.”

On Tuesday morning, Matt Hancock said age was the “key determinant” in assessing the risk of death from Covid-19.

He added: “That has a bigger impact on your likelihood of dying from coronavirus than any other factor.

“And so the reason for this prioritisation is to protect the vulnerable and the health and social care staff who work with those who are most vulnerable to the disease.

“That’s not only the best approach clinically, it’s also the best approach to getting life back to normal because the faster we can protect the most at risk, the easier it will be to be able to take the steps that will allow life to get back to normal.”

A Public Health England (PHE) report published in June, entitled Covid-19: Review of disparities in risks and outcomes, indicated that a range of people, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, were most disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.

It found the increased risk of death involving Covid-19 for people from a Black ethnic background was two times greater for males and 1.4 times greater for females compared with white people.

Last month, HuffPost UK revealed that the proportion of intensive care beds filled with Covid patients from BAME backgrounds was back at the level it had been during the first peak – despite pledges from the government to learn lessons and protect the vulnerable.

The JCVI adds in its recommendations: “Any vaccine programme will need to ensure every effort is made to get good coverage in Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups, in areas of higher socio-economic deprivation, and in areas with outbreaks or high levels of community transmission.”

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