The GM=EqAl Working Group represents marginalised communities with some of the highest infection and mortality rates from Covid-19. This Position Statement reflects our concern that the ongoing vaccination programme will significantly exacerbate these disparities unless urgent action is taken.
There is mounting evidence of lower uptake rates among people from communities experiencing racism, the very ones at highest risk of exposure, infection and death from Covid-19. This will leave them dangerously under-immunised compared with the wider population.
We condemn the Government’s decision to omit Black, Asian and other racially minoritised people from the list of JCVI priority groups, but welcome the increasing flexibility that seems to be now entering the system.
In solidarity with our partners in the public sector in Greater Manchester, we urge NHS England to provide the regular granular ‘vaccine uptake’ data they need in order to understand the demographic differences in detail.
We also want to flag up the importance of attending to access issues which may affect take-up of appointments by people with disabilities and long term health conditions. GM=EqAl welcomes the Government’s announcement of new funds for local authorities to tackle vaccine hesitancy and encourage at-risk groups to take up the offer of a free vaccine.
As a pan-equalities network of grassroots community leaders and equality specialists from across the city region, we call on the commissioning and delivery bodies to draw on the expertise of Greater Manchester’s dense web of formal and informal voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in order to achieve this aim.