In an important development, consistently highlighted by iGlobal in its campaigns and the Great British Indian Survey, the UK government has dropped the use of the blanket term BAME – which clubbed together black, Asian and minority ethnic under one bracket.
The ‘COVID-19 Health Inequalities’ review, commissioned by the British government, found that people from black and South Asian ethnic groups in Britain are still dying with the coronavirus at higher rates than those of white ethnicity, with vaccination rates, occupation and household size and make up among the factors behind the disparity. However, in an important change, these groups were not referred to within the umbrella term of BAME. The government said all recommendations in the latest report, such as addressing specific ethnic minority groups separately, rather than referring to 'BAME' and applying lessons from the COVID-19 vaccination deployment to future programmes, have been accepted.
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“Not treating ethnic minorities as a homogenous group – Covid-19 has affected different ethnic groups in different ways throughout the pandemic and a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not an effective way of tackling public health issues,” the review concludes in terms of lessons learnt.
The review, released last week, found that vaccination has sharply reduced Covid-19 death rates for people of all ethnicities. Overall, British Indians tend to reflect positive uptakes of vaccination and at least 70 per cent of people from the Indian, Mixed White and Asian and Asian Other groups rated the communications around the rollout as very or quite good.
UK Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch said: “Our understanding of how Covid-19 affects different ethnic groups has transformed since the pandemic began.
“We know now that factors like the job someone does, where they live, and how many people they live with, impacts how susceptible they are to the virus and it’s imperative that those more at risk get their booster vaccine or their first and second dose if they are yet to have them. These insights from the award-winning Race Disparity Unit have informed every action we have taken to tackle disparities, not least through our history-making vaccination campaign.”
The final report into Covid-19 disparities sets out how government research identified the key virus risk factors – such as occupation, household size and wider living circumstances – for specific groups and used that data to provide targeted, evidence-based guidance and advice on how to reduce the risk of infection.
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“We know that Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities and this report helps us further understand the reasons why,” said UK Minister for Vaccines and Public Health Minister for Vaccines and Public Health Maggie Throup.
“The vaccine is our best defence against this virus and our phenomenal vaccine campaign has saved thousands of lives. You can still get your first vaccine, second dose and if eligible, the booster jab to secure vital protection for yourself and your loved ones,” she said.