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University of Oxford researchers from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) and the Department of Psychiatry, in collaboration with The 1928 Institute, have published a major new study on the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s largest BME population.

A medical professional wearing a mask and safety gloves prepares COVID-19 Vaccine

The new study has shed light on the willingness of British Indians to take a COVID-19 vaccine (56%) and the impact of the pandemic on the health and culture of the Indian diaspora in the UK. 

The 1928 Institute, a think tank co-founded by Dr Nikita Ved, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG), and Kiran Kaur Manku, Department of Psychiatry, are working together to research and represent the views of British Indians – the UK’s largest ethnic minority group. 

Researchers have been working on two projects with the University of Oxford: The British Indian Census; a seminal piece of work for the British Indian community, and Pulse & Policy; short, topical surveys designed to poll the community on timely and pressing issues.  

This new COVID-19 report is a culmination of all COVID-19 related data from these projects, findings include: 

  • Only 56% of British Indians would take a COVID-19 vaccine when offered, which is significantly lower than the national average of 79%
  • Women are significantly less likely than men to take a vaccine with 52% of women willing to take the vaccine, compared with 63% of men. 
  • 19% of British Indians feel that other people should have priority in receiving a vaccine, specifically those who are vulnerable and those in low- and middle-income countries.
  • 75% of British Indians face barriers in accessing mental healthcare, and men in particular have overwhelming concerns of suicide. 

The research indicates that of the 44% who were either unsure or would decline the vaccine, the reasons for this stem from people feeling they are not informed enough about the vaccines, while a significant proportion feel that other people deserve to receive a vaccine ahead of them. 

The COVID-19 report team are now calling for an urgent public health campaign and funding.

Kiran Manku, Department of Psychiatry, and Dr Ved, DPAG, said,

 

“We are calling for a clear and concerted public health campaign that addresses the vaccine concerns raised by the community, particularly regarding the impact on fertility. We also call for the Government to share their plans on how they will assist low- and middle-income countries in vaccine distribution to assuage reluctance in taking the vaccine. We also detail the impact of COVID-19 on physical health, mental health, and culture, for this BME community in which we reveal complex structural issues with far-reaching impacts and propose how these can be addressed. This work is not only vital to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution, but also goes beyond the pandemic and highlights the urgent need for ethnic minorities to be included in both research and practice to address inequalities.” 

Read more about the research on the impact of COVID-19 on British Indians (The 1928 Institute website)

Read the full COVID-19 Report: Vaccines, The Pandemic, and British Indians.

The story has been covered by ITV News London: watch the ITV News Report on Twitter

NIHR OXFORD HEALTH BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTRE NEWS

Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.

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