The Prince of Wales spoke at a British Asian Trust webinar to encourage minority populations to get the COVID-19 vaccine when available on Thursday.
The British Asian Trust hosted a webinar entitled ‘Covid-19 Vaccine – Facts for the BAME Community’ to discuss the “worryingly low vaccine uptake in ethnic minority communities.”
In a pre-recorded message, Prince Charles said:
“It is clear that the virus has affected all parts of the country, and all sections of society – but it is also clear that there are particular challenges faced in particular sections of our society, especially in some ethnic minority communities.
“What saddens me even further is to hear that those challenges are being made even worse by the variable uptake of the vaccines which finally offer us a way out of the suffering of the past year.”
He praised the “superhuman effort” that went into creating the vaccine and said, “Therefore, it is surely a tragedy that the benefits of such an extraordinary achievement should not be experienced by everybody… The vaccination will save lives, will prevent serious illness, will protect our health service and will allow us to start to hope that things might return in some sense to normal – for every member of our society.”
The British Asian Trust, in the webinar’s notes, wrote: “Recent data shows people from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Some communities are more hesitant about a vaccine, for a range of reasons, and many of these groups have been disproportionately affected by the first wave of the virus.”
There was also the fear of side-effects and long-term impacts, as well as the rumours that the vaccine may contain pork or alcohol—which has been proven false.
“The vaccination rate across the UK has recently crossed the 15 million mark, with no evidence to suggest it is unsafe. It’s at this time we must dispel misperceptions about the vaccination and address real concerns and challenges in order to save lives,” The British Asian Trust wrote.
In addition to Prince Charles’s remarks, key personnel across British society spoke as well, including Nadhim Zahawi, the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment and Minister for Business & Industry; Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director, Public Health England; Dr Nikita Kanani MBE, Medical Director for Primary Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement; and Mayor Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.
Minister Zahawi said, “We recognise some groups feel more hesitant about getting a vaccine or have more barriers preventing them from accessing one when offered. It is extremely important for me to connect with a range of different communities, and today’s webinar was a brilliant initiative to address some very real concerns among British Asians.
“Each jab in the arm brings us closer to beating this pandemic, and the government has published a plan to make sure everyone is protected equally, regardless of their background or religion, by working closely with those who know their communities best to encourage as many people as possible to get their vaccine.”