Skip to main content

Covid-19 Vaccinations

Volume 706: debated on Wednesday 12 January 2022

5. What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of steps taken by the Government to increase the uptake of covid-19 vaccinations where uptake is lower among certain ethnic groups. (905019)

The covid disparities report that I published last year summarised the unprecedented measures we have taken to promote vaccine uptake and includes recommendations to improve vaccination rates further for harder-to-reach groups that the Prime Minister has accepted in full. We have worked with faith leaders and other trusted local voices to overcome vaccine hesitancy and provided more than £23 million in funding to support the community champion scheme, which we have just extended to support the booster campaign.

Behind the boasts of jabs in arms that for a while were distracting from the death figures, until we hit 150,000, are the Government not as worried as I am that the Office for National Statistics is finding vaccine hesitancy among the black British population more than five times higher than among the white population? Among the over-50s, just 44% of Caribbeans and 42% of Pakistanis have been boosted, as opposed to 77% of white British. When are the Government going to admit that their “Take me to your leader” model of community relations just is not working?

I have to say—and I really do not say this lightly—that the hon. Lady has form in pretending that the Government are doing absolutely nothing, when we are doing so much to encourage vaccine take-up in ethnic minority communities. She will know that in her own constituency of Ealing Central and Acton we have spent £485,000 on the community champions scheme. The hon. Lady will not stand up and let her constituents know what we are doing to encourage vaccine uptake. Perhaps she should focus on the positive things that the Government have done, including in her own constituency. There would be less vaccine hesitancy if Opposition Members stopped scaremongering.