'This Morning' doctors launch campaign encouraging ethnic minority communities to get COVID vaccine

Amy Johnson
·3-min read
Dr Ranj, Dr Zoe and Dr Nighat are fronting the campaign to encourage people from ethnic minority communities to get the vaccine if offered. (ITV)
Dr Ranj, Dr Zoe and Dr Nighat are fronting the campaign to encourage people from ethnic minority communities to get the vaccine if offered. (ITV)

This Morning medics Dr Ranj, Dr Zoe and Dr Nighat have launched a campaign to encourage those from ethnic minority communities to get the coronavirus vaccine.

The initiative comes as the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has raised concerns over the large number of individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds reluctant to take the vaccine.

Speaking on the ITV show on Tuesday, Dr Ranj said: “The findings aren’t just worrying… they are heartbreaking. The SAGE report shows over 70% of black people are unlikely to get the vaccine, over 40% of Pakistani or Bangladeshi are unlikely.

Read more: Dr Alex George talks ‘emotional toll’ of working during pandemic

"[This] echoes a report from the Royal Society for Public Health back in December and the 1928 institute, which is an Oxford University based think tank, which looks specifically at British Indians - the largest ethnic minority community within the UK.

"This is my community and just over 50% of them would agree to have the vaccine.”

He added he had struggled to hold back tears when seeing an Asian woman on a ventilator in intensive care as he was reminded of his mother, before going on to say there is "absolutely no scientific reason" for someone to refuse the vaccine.

Dr Nighat stressed that it was key to get people from certain communities to turn to other members from that same community to assure them the vaccine is safe.

She also said that some people may be getting false information from abroad which leads to difficulties in understanding what it accurate and what is not.

Addressing that some may have heard there could be issues with the content of the vaccine due to their faith, she stated: "It’s really important at this point that I make absolutely clear that all faith groups have said that the vaccine is safe and all Imans and leaders from their communities have come out to encourage their community."

Read more: The celebrities who’ve had the coronavirus vaccine

Dr Nighat also touched upon "health inequalities" which have fuelled mistrust of the health service in certain communities, something which was echoed by Dr Zoe.

She opined that institutional racism within the NHS is the reason Black people may be "afraid and distrusting" when it comes to the vaccine.

"Even right now today, in the NHS, there is institutional racism," Dr Zoe said. "This SAGE report, for the first time really, has acknowledged that and I think for the black community to take the vaccine, which I really want them to do, they really should do because the vaccine is safe.

"I think that acknowledgement needs to be made alongside the information about why the vaccine is safe and it’s so important that the people from the black community take it, especially people who are older."

Dr Nighat emphasised on the importance of having information available in people's own language, which is why she delivers "many" of her informational TikTok videos in Punjabi and Urdu.

Watch: Dr Ranj appeals for public to stay home