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Muslims at wrong end of vaccine league table

9th Apr 2021
Muslims at wrong end of vaccine league table

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the Al-Hikmah Vaccination Centre in Batley, Yorkshire, during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Credit:Andrew Parsons /No 10 Downing Street)

From the beginning of the pandemic, Muslims have been in the frontline fighting the merciless virus that has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the UK. Like other ethnic minorities, they disproportionately make up the number of healthcare and essential workers. In doing so, thousands have been sacrificed and so it’s a double whammy to find Muslims are among the lowest uptake of the vaccine rollout.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) members have suffered as a consequence of rampant health inequalities in the country. The risk of dying of Covid-19 is much higher if you are from a black or South Asian heritage. The risks for BAME communities are compounded to by relevant socioeconomic factors, including being at the wrong end of the employment ladder or live in more deprived and overcrowded areas. It is an even greater tragedy missing out on the massive vaccination effort that offers some protection from the deadly disease and hope for the future.

The first year of the pandemic has not only showcased the Government’s ill-preparedness it has been littered with slow and reluctant responses as well as repeated mistakes. We have endured the catastrophe over care homes, the inability for months to fill the PPE equipment shortage, not to mention the shambolic roll-out of the test and trace system that has been blamed for

contributing to the causes of excess deaths. Questions are being asked why lucrative contracts to combat the virus have gone to seemingly inexperienced companies seeking to make profits out of Covid-19 including many with links to the Tory party.

Elsewhere in the paper, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Afzal Khan, writes about his personal tragedy and reminds us of the human sufferings behind the statistics. Millions of others have similarly grieved the losses of loved ones. As the Labour MP suggests, it is welcome that the Prime Minister has finally agreed to hold an inquiry on the handling of the pandemic, but that it needs to start immediately not be buried away for years as happens with most catastrophes.

Ministers could have undoubtedly done a lot more, however, this is not to negate the roles and personal responsibilities we all have. There have been huge disparities, including in the vaccine rollout programme. The Government could certainly have reached out more to communities affected by what has disproportionately become a disease of inequality and poverty. In the breakdown figures, the media focus has been overwhelming on the lowest rates among Blacks with scant attention to religious diversity.

As leaders across the world, including the UK Prime Minister, have warned in a published article, a future pandemic is inevitable. Covid has served as “a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe”. While the Government must urgently step up efforts to tackle their failure to reach the ethnic minority communities in the vaccine roll-out and has only recently targeted these communities as they have realised if they do not vaccinate the minorities, then the rest of the community will not be safe. It is also important that the very small minority of people in these communities who are hesitating to come forward for vaccination should be encouraged to do so.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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