Celebrities have urged ethnic minorities to take the coronavirus vaccine when it’s their turn.
The five-minute video, featuring comedians Romesh Ranganathan and Meera Syal as well as actress Shobna Gulati and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, was launched this week to debunk conspiracy theories surrounding the jab.
It comes after a study found ethnic minority adults are up to 20 per cent less likely to accept the jab than white people.
Organised by Citizen Khan actor Adil Ray, the video featured stars explaining the vaccine was the only way to overcome the threat posed by the deadly virus.
Actor Sanjeev Bhaskar, cricketer Moeen Ali and the television journalist Rageh Omaar all had one or two lines in the video.
Earlier this month, doctors expressed fears over ‘fake news’ causing South Asian people to reject the Covid vaccine over false claims that the jabs contain alcohol or meat and can alter patients’ DNA.
Organised by Citizen Khan Adil Ray (pictured), the stars explained the vaccine was the only way to overcome the threat posed by the deadly virus
Much of the false information appears to be targeted at Muslims, who do not drink alcohol or eat pork, and Hindus, who consider cows to be sacred.
An undated document released by Sage found ‘marked difference existed by ethnicity, with black ethnic groups the most likely to be Covid-19 hesitant, followed by Pakistani/Bangladeshi groups’.
In the video, Adil said: ‘Looking after others and serving our community is what we do. It’s how we have been brought up. It’s why we have so much immense pride when a family member becomes a doctor and nurse. We have so much respect for them. They need our respect now more than ever. They need our help.’
The celebrities debunked the most common false claims about the vaccination, including that it contains ‘material of foetal or animal origin’.
Pictured, Meera Syal. An undated document released by Sage found ‘marked difference existed by ethnicity, with black ethnic groups the most likely to be Covid-19 hesitant, followed by Pakistani/Bangladeshi groups’
Pictured, Konnie Huq. Abdullah Afzal, who stars alongside Adil in Citizen Khan, pointed out one of the vaccine’s creators were Muslim
Comedian Asim Chaudhry. The celebrities went through debunking the most common false claims about the vaccination, including that it contains ‘material of foetal or animal origin’
Addressing another conspiracy theory, Romesh said: ‘There’s no chip or tracker in the vaccine to keep watching where you go. Your mobile phone actually does a much better job of that.’
Abdullah Afzal, who stars alongside Adil in Citizen Khan, pointed out one of the vaccine’s creators were Muslim. He said: ‘In fact, the scientists who developed the most widely used [Pfizer] vaccine are Muslim, Prof Ugur Sahin and his… wife, Özlem Türeci, from Turkey.’
Some of the celebrities went on to reveal their parents, aunts, uncles and relatives in the medical profession had been given the vaccine.
Shobna Gulati, who played Coronation Street’s Sunita Alahan, said: ‘We will find our way through this, and be united once again with our friends and our families. All we have to do is take the vaccination. My sister’s had the vaccine and I’m really looking forward to when it’s my turn.’
The video, which notes at the end that it was organised ‘independently from the Government’, has since been viewed nearly 400,000 times.
Pictured, news presenter Ranvir Singh. The video, which notes at the end that it was organised ‘independently from the Government’, has since been viewed nearly 400,000 times
Pictured, cricketer Moeen Ali. Some of the celebrities went on to reveal their parents, aunts, uncles and relatives in the medical profession had been given the vaccine
Nearly half of all people in some areas with a large population of ethnic minorities are refusing the Covid vaccine when offered it due to fears about what it contains, it has been reported.
In Birmingham, 50 per cent of those living in areas with high populations of Asian and African-Caribbean people turned down the vaccine when offered it.
In Ealing, west London, between 10 and 15 per cent of black people are refusing the vaccine – compared to just five per cent of other groups.
Meanwhile in Stoke-on-Trent, medics say between 20 and 30 per cent of black and ethnic minority people didn’t show up to get their vaccine. In other groups, this figure stood at between two and three per cent.
Fake information about what goes in it or concerns about potential side effects are the main deterrents, local clinical director Lenin Vellaturi claimed.
A health worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine inside a former nightclub that has been turned into a NHS vaccine centre in St Albans earlier this month
SAGE earlier blamed ‘structural and institutional racism and discrimination’ for vaccine scepticism among BAME communities – as a survey found 72 per cent of black people were unlikely to have the Covid jab.
A report from the Government’s scientific advisory committee said historical issues of unethical healthcare research and systemic racism are key factors for lower levels of trust in Britain’s mass vaccination programme.
This justification was echoed by equality campaigner Trevor Phillips – the former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission – who said it was ‘absurd’ to claim hesitancy was down to a language barrier or misconceptions.
Joanmes de-Gallerie receiving a vaccine at the Nightingale facility at the Excel Centre, London
He told The Times: ‘The NHS and government have to realise that what they are seeing is probably a sincere rejection of the vaccine on religious or cultural grounds and quite probably a deep suspicion of anything proposed by white authorities.
He added: ‘The underlying suggestion that we are all just a bit backward or don’t understand the arguments for the jab is just belittling people of colour.’
NHS England’s regional medical director for London said ‘concerns that go back generations’ in certain communities due to historic vaccine experiments, as he insisted the vaccine is safe.
Dr Harpreet Sood, a Global Digital Health Advisor, said language and cultural boundaries are partly responsible for the false material spread via social media and WhatsApp.
The practising doctor is working on an NHS anti-disinformation campaign with South Asian influencers and religious leaders to disprove myths about the jab.