United Kingdom

BAME communities urged to volunteer for Covid-19 vaccine trials

Black and ethnic minority communities have been urged to volunteer for Covid vaccine trials after figures showed they are currently seriously under-represented.

The UK Vaccine Taskforce was launched in April to 'drive forward, expedite and co-ordinate efforts to research and then produce a coronavirus vaccine'.

But while more than 250,000 Britons have volunteered to take part in different trials since then, 93 per cent are white, with just 4 per cent Asian or British Asian and 0.4 per cent Black, African, Caribbean or Black British.

In contrast, the most recent data for the UK's ethnic make-up from the 2011 Census showed that 86 per cent of the population was white, 7.5 per cent Asian and 3.3 per cent black. 

The UK Vaccine Taskforce was launched in April to 'drive forward, expedite and co-ordinate efforts to research and then produce a coronavirus vaccine'. But while more than 250,000 Britons have volunteered to take part in different trials since then, 93% are white, with just 4% Asian or British Asian and 0.4% Black, African, Caribbean or Black British. (File image)

The figures were emailed to volunteers ahead of an appeal from taskforce boss Kate Bingham, calling for more non-white applicants. 

It has raised fears that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities could suffer if ethnicity is found to be a factor in any coronavirus cure.

The British Medical Association warned last week that a third of coronavirus patients currently in intensive care are from BAME backgrounds.

Halima Begum, of race equality think-tank Runnymede Trust, said: 'In economic terms, there would seem little point in the UK Government buying 60 million doses of a vaccine that does not offer full protection to identifiable ethnic minorities.'

The British Medical Association warned last week that a third of coronavirus patients currently in intensive care are from BAME backgrounds. (File image)

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