Uptake of coronavirus vaccines among all ethnic minority groups has tripled since February, England’s top GP has said.
Dr Nikita Kanani, medical director of primary care for NHS England, said “really significant progress” has been made since the NHS set out its action plan to boost uptake among certain groups.
Dr Kanani told the Downing Street press conference that concern around uptake “feels really personal to me both as a GP and as a woman of colour”.
She said: “Since we set out our plan in February, uptake from all ethnic minority backgrounds has tripled, outpacing the national average across all ethnicities.
“Take-up among people from the Pakistani background is more than four times higher than it was in February, and a five-fold increase in people taking up the vaccine from a Bangladeshi background.
“The progress is a direct result of a combination of NHS teams who know and understand their communities, community and faith leaders who’ve worked really closely with us, practical considerations about Ramadan and other local nuances, and really strong vocal backing from high-profile people such as Bake Off’s Nadia Hussain, comedian Lenny Henry and TV star Adil Ray.
“So I want to thank everyone involved in this effort. You’ve saved lives.”
NHS England data shows that uptake has tripled among ethnic minority groups – from 1.89 million as of February 7 to 5.78 million as of April 7.
Uptake among Bangladeshi groups rose five-fold from 29,382 to 152,408 over the same period.
And it increased four-fold among Pakistani groups, from 88,956 to 367,780.
The data also estimates that 61.6% of people of black Caribbean ethnicity aged 50 and over had received a first dose as of April 7 – the lowest proportion of all ethnic groups.
This compares to 93.8% of those in the white British group.
Some 64.9% of people over 50 of black African ethnicity and 62.7% of those from any other black background are estimated to have had a first dose.
For people over 50 from a Pakistani background, 73.1% are estimated to have received a first dose, and 83.7% of over-50s in the Bangladeshi group.
Dr Kanani, who appeared at the conference alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said “our job is not done”.
She said the NHS will keep offering first jabs as supply allows, adding: “We want to make sure that nobody is left behind.
“So I want to urge everyone eligible to join the millions already vaccinated to protect yourselves and others.”