Covid: Four in ten of black African heritage over 70 in England 'unlikely to have received first dose of vaccine'

Video report by ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan

Around four in 10 people (40%) in England aged 70 and over identifying as black African are unlikely to have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, new figures suggest.

Vaccination rates for this ethnic group up to March 11 are estimated to be 58.8%, the lowest among all ethnic minority groups, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

For people aged 70 and over identifying as black Caribbean the estimated rate is 68.7%, with rates of 72.7% and 74.0% for people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds respectively.

The estimated rate for people identifying as white British is 91.3%.

Differences in geography, socio-demographic factors and underlying health conditions do not fully explain the lower vaccination rates among ethnic minority groups, the ONS found.

Statistical modelling showed the odds of not having received a dose of the vaccine were 7.4 times greater for people from black African backgrounds compared with people of white British ethnicity.

But after adjusting for age, sex, socio-demographic characteristics and underlying health conditions, the odds were still 5.5 times greater.

This indicates that the factors included in the model explained only about 30% of the unadjusted differences in the odds of not having been vaccinated, the ONS said.

Covid Surge Testing Credit: PA

The vaccination rate among people aged 70 and over living in the most deprived areas of England was 87.0%, compared with 92.1% in the least deprived, the ONS said.

Those with disabilities, who reported being limited a lot in their day-to-day activities, had a vaccination rate of 86.6%, compared with 91.0% of non-disabled people.

The ONS also found that vaccination rates also differed by religious affiliation, with the lowest vaccination rate being amongst those who identified as Muslims (72.3%),

For people who identified as Buddhists the estimated rate is 78.1% and lower rates were of 87.0% was also observed amongst Sikhs and 87.1% for Hindus.

The figures for people identifying as Jewish and Christian were 88.8% and 91.1% respectively.

Reacting to the latest findings, Ben Humberstone, Head of Health and Life Events at ONS said: "Vaccination rates are markedly lower amongst certain groups, in particular amongst people identifying as Black African and Black Caribbean, those identifying as Muslim, and disabled people."

"These differences remain after accounting for geography, underlying health conditions and certain indicators of socio-economic inequality."

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