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Covid-19 Vaccine: Ethnic Minority Communities

Volume 698: debated on Wednesday 7 July 2021

What steps the Government are taking to encourage covid-19 vaccine take-up among ethnic minority communities. (902450)

What recent steps the Government have taken to increase covid-19 vaccine uptake among ethnic minority communities. (902458)

My third quarterly report to the Prime Minister on covid disparities summarises the unprecedented measures taken to promote vaccine uptake among ethnic minorities. This work includes establishing vaccination centres at around 50 different religious venues, with many more acting as pop-up sites, and, more recently, an NHS partnership with the Caribbean & African Health Network, which co-produced a toolkit to increase vaccine confidence and uptake. Thanks to such initiatives we saw an increase in both positive vaccine sentiment and vaccine uptake across all ethnic groups over the last quarter.

On Friday, I was delighted to visit the Al-Manaar mosque in North Kensington, which has administered more than 750 vaccines in pop-up clinics and done vaccine information sessions in English, Arabic and Somali. Does my hon. Friend agree that that is an excellent model for encouraging vaccination in our diverse communities?

I do agree. I thank my hon. Friend for her engagement on this issue and for so effectively representing a very diverse constituency and its complex needs. I pay tribute to religious leaders in Kensington and everywhere else who have played such an important role in encouraging their congregations to be vaccinated. Initiatives such as the one that my hon. Friend mentioned and the NHS’s plan for Ramadan, which includes the use of twilight jabbing, all help to build trust, increase vaccine confidence and tackle misinformation.

From speaking to care home operators in my constituency, I know that there is concern among ethnic minority groups, and particularly women, about their fertility chances being affected by their taking up the vaccine. What reassurances can my hon. Friend give to those ladies that their fertility will not be affected, and that it is entirely safe to take up the vaccine?

I should start by reiterating that the covid-19 vaccines are safe and there is no evidence that they affect fertility. I recognise that there is much information about the vaccines, as my hon. Friend describes. We are working with Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, the Chief Midwifery Officer in England, and others such as Media Medics, Dr Hazel Wallace and Dr Philippa Kaye, to encourage women to be vaccinated.