A letter from House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has criticised the Government for failing BAME communities and young women on vaccine take-up.
Committee Chair Caroline Nokes warned that leaving these issues unaddressed could be ‘devastating for both vaccine hesitant groups and wider society.’
The letter to Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi argues that the problems facing rollout in BAME communities were ‘predictable’ and risked ‘compounding pre-existing health inequalities’.
The Government’s apparent ‘wait and see approach’ to the potential impact of fertility concerns on vaccine uptake amongst young women was unacceptable, according to the Committee.
The issue of vaccine hesitancy is especially important as the Government looks to open up from lockdown and avoid a ‘third wave’.
Committee Chair Caroline Nokes said:
“The reasons for disparities in vaccine uptake are complex. Some of the groups with lower uptake rates are also among those who are at greater risk from covid, which is especially worrying.
“The Government must improve its understanding of why this is happening – and then take action to support more equal uptake.
“This problem must be solved urgently, or there is a real risk that existing health inequalities will be further exacerbated.
“Failing to address these issues could be devastating for both vaccine hesitant groups and wider society.
“Ensuring that as many people as possible are vaccinated is essential to ensuring the virus is contained as we begin opening up from lockdown. Any compromise will certainly increase the chances of a further lockdown.”