Since the start of the pandemic, there has been many moments of uncertainty within the black community regarding how they should properly protect themselves from a virus that even the government couldn’t understand.
With new reports from the BBC claiming that,
“By April, 64% of black over-50s had been vaccinated compared with 93% of white people of the same age.”
It presents the question as to why there is such a stark difference between the number of black over 50’s getting vaccinated in the UK in comparison to the number of white over 50’s getting vaccinated.
Already receiving their vaccination, it makes you question why the black community are so reluctant to do the same.
Early days of the pandemic:
If you look back to the 16th of March, which is when the first UK national lockdown took place, the main news stories circulating at the time were regarding the black community and their increased risk of catching COVID -19.
As with institutions like the BBC stating that,
“There has been mounting evidence people belonging to ethnic minorities are at greater risk from Covid-19.”
Moral panic within the black community was created which has since arguably resulted in there now being an unsettling divide within the black community and their support/ trust for the NHS.
This is because if you look at the response that news institutions like Sky received following their announcement in 2020 of,
“Black people being four times more likely to die with COVID-19”
You can see how frustrations have begun to grow within the black community as Twitter users shared their thoughts online:
— Karwan Sulaivany (@KSulaivany) May 7, 2020
For many this mistrust between Black Brits and health services may appear to be an extreme claim, however as a black woman myself living in the UK the relationship between minority groups and healthcare services like the NHS have always been strained.
As with a sister suffering with Sickle Cell Anemia not always receiving the standard of care that she deserves, and black women being four times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth, it makes you question why the NHS hasn’t done more to prioritise and protect the health and well being of the black people.
This is why it is not surprising the the black community are now so reluctant to get vaccinated as new reports from the BBC have stated that,
“Black leaders blame lower vaccine take up on racism”
Suggesting that the anxiety surrounding the idea of being a lab rat or trial run for the vaccination still remains for this community.
Black people in support of the vaccine:
Despite black people still having anxiety about getting vaccinated celebrities like Sir Lenny Henry and even members of the black community themselves have encouraged for more minority groups to get vaccinated.
Clive Peart who is a 69 year old carer from Essex, is one of the black brits who have been vaccinated thus far.
When asked by reporter Sanchia Saunders why he decided to get vaccinated he said,
“As for me having the vaccine, I work in the care sector with vulnerable people and have some medical issues of my own, so getting the vaccine was a good idea from my point of view. To date I’ve had no side effects.
“Regarding ethnic minorities getting vaccinated I think they should, all it costs is 30 minutes of their time.
“In other countries you have to pay for it.”