Last reviewed 4 May 2021

The Covid-19 vaccine take-up among ethnic minority groups has increased from 1.89 million to 5.78 million between 7 February and 7 April, amounting to an increase of 235%.

Uptake among ethnic minority groups outpaced the national average among all ethnicities, at 154%, over the same period, according to NHSE.

Vaccine uptake among Bangladeshi groups increased five-fold from 29,382 to 152,408, while vaccination in Pakistani groups increased from 88,956 to 367,780.

NHS England Primary Care Medical Director Dr Nikki Kanani, who was appointed to co-lead NHS England’s efforts to boost vaccine uptake among minority ethnic NHS staff in January, said the increase in uptake among minority ethnic patients is a “direct result” of primary care teams working with community and faith leaders.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference she announced: “One big area that I know rightly has been an area of concern, is uptake among people from ethnic minority backgrounds. That feels really personal to me, both as a GP and as a person of colour in our country.”

She added: “The progress is a direct result of a combination of NHS teams who know and understand their communities, community and faith leaders who’ve worked really closely with us.”

Dr Nikki Kanani also highlighted the impact made by specifically considering advice around Ramadan, as GPs and health leaders clarified that receiving a Covid-19 vaccine did not break the fast observed during daylight hours over Ramadan, advising it is not nutritional and does not contain animal products. They also advised that if painkillers are needed to manage side effects, breaking the fast to take medication is allowed during Ramadan if someone is unwell, regardless of the cause.

In March, the NHS published its blueprint to reduce vaccine uptake hesitancy, which included engaging with faith leaders and installing pop-up clinics in places of worship.

NHS Confederation Policy Director Dr Layla McCay joined Dr Nikki Kanani’s praise in saying the significant increase in uptake among ethnic minority communities was “thanks to the innovative and dedicated work of leaders across the NHS, particularly in primary care”.