Prince Charles 'saddened' by low uptake of coronavirus vaccine in minority communities

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Prince Charles saddened at low vaccine uptake by ethnic minority communities

Prince Charles said he was saddened by the low uptake of the coronavirus vaccine in ethnic communities as he joined the fight against the spread of misinformation about the jab.

Charles, 72, has received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and spoke as part of the British Asian Trust Insights webinar on the myths surrounding the jab.

Early studies appear to show a lower uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines among those from minority communities.

A study of health staff at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust found that more than 70.9% of white staff has received their first dose, compared to 58.5% of South Asian staff and 36.8% of black staff, the BBC reported.

The Prince of Wales said: "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 vaccine which offers us a way out of the suffering of the past year.

"The production of the vaccines in such an incredibly short timescale must rank as one of the greatest scientific achievements of our time."

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales talks with Chief pharmacist Inderjit Singh during a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, northern England on February 17, 2021. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Charles speaks to chief pharmacist Inderjit Singh during a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. (AFP)

Read more: Camilla says she 'leapt for joy' after COVID jab in first in-person royal engagement of 2021 with Prince Charles

He added that the vaccine "represents an unprecedented and superhuman effort by our medical experts".

Charles continued: "It is a tragedy that the benefits should not be experienced by everybody."

He said: "Vaccination will save lives, will prevent serious illness, will protect our health service and will allow us to hope that things will start to return, in some sense, to normal."

Charles is a founding royal patron of the British Asian Trust, which he set up in 2007 to bring together leaders from the community.

The message from Charles opened a webinar which included Nadhim Zahawi, minister for vaccine delivery, and other prominent figures like top GP Dr Nikki Kanani.

London mayor Sadiq Khan also sent a video message in which he said: "It's crucial that we're doing everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbours and that includes getting vaccinated when the time comes."

Britain's Prince Charles (L), Prince of Wales and Britain's Camilla (R), Duchess of Cornwall speak with Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, northern England on February 17, 2021. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Charles and Camilla with health secretary Matt Hancock during a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. (AFP)

Dr Kanani, GP and medical director of primary care for NHS England and NHS Improvement, said the misinformation about the vaccine should not be allowed to spread as quickly as the virus.

Writing in the i newspaper, she said: "As we reach the next stage of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history, we are faced with fighting dual epidemics: Covid and misinformation, particularly around the vaccine.

"With more than 13 million people in England choosing to get their vaccine already, we must continue to encourage and persuade people who remain unsure that getting this protection is vital.

Read more: Prince Philip was once left furious after John Humphrys accidentally 'stole' his car

“We must keep spreading the word to those next in line that this vaccine is safe and effective for all, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion or background.”

She added: "There is evidence that people from ethnically diverse backgrounds are most likely to be hesitant about getting the vaccine, despite being disproportionately affected by COVID.

“It’s vital that we give these communities the support they need to get the vaccine when invited to do so, building both trust and confidence.”

An advert will be shown across several TV networks at the same time on Thursday evening, featuring people like comedian and present Romesh Ranganathan, and actress Meera Syal, encouraging people in minority groups to take the vaccine when it is offered to them.

Ranganathan told BBC Breakfast: “It just feels so heartbreaking to me that people from ethnic minorities are inflicting a degree of separation upon themselves from not trusting in this, and I understand all the reasons why – I've heard all the arguments.

“But I just feel so strongly that we need to make sure we dispel some of these myths, so that people are getting involved and we can get ourselves out of this pandemic.”

Nearly 16 million people have add the vaccine so far.

Watch: Prince Charles and Camilla visit Queen Elizabeth Hospital