Hostile-environment policy has led ethnic minorities to disdain vax clinics, says Hackney MP

A HACKNEY HEALTH CENTRE shut its door early because not enough people turned up for Covid-19 vaccinations. 

The Cedar Practice’s John Scott Centre in Green Lanes, Hackney N4 2NU, said that despite its catchment area covering 40 GP practices throughout the borough and the City of London, “low patient uptake” on three days last week had forced it to cut back on vaccination sessions. 

Almost 50% of Hackney’s residents are non-white, according to the latest,  2011 census. Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott said the government had some responsibility for low take-up by ethnic minorities.

Abbott, a former Labour shadow cabinet member, claimed “the hostile-environment policy has partly contributed to people of colour and their worry about making themselves known to authority — even when it’s in their best interests to have the vaccine”.

Plastic gloves, social-distancing: black people waiting to enter Ridley Road, Hackney market meticulously follow pandemic protocols, unlike some of the young people in the lead picture being approached by Hackney council marshals

The government should organise vaccination sessions in black-led churches to encourage the black community, particularly the old, she told Radio 4 news. 

“I think it’s partly perhaps a certain suspicion of government [which] needs to work with institutions in this communities… it should organise vaccination sessions not just in mosques and imams but in [black] churches,” she said. “There are a lot of black-led churches in places like Hackney where, before lockdown, you’d get up to 1,000 people at a service on a Sunday.”

ELM©DA16: Salman Farsi @ East London Mosque on Visit Your Mosque Day 070216 ©
Getting high: on top of the East London (Whitechapel) Mosque in Shoreditch

She added: “The government also needs to work with social-media companies to get them to take down some of this anti-vaxxer stuff.” 

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi promised a renewed push “by persuasion” to improve vaccine take-up by minority groups. Otherwise, “if one particular community remains unvaccinated, the virus will seek them out and it will go through that community like wildfire”.

Hundreds of people have been vaccinated at a clinic set up by Muslim leaders in Shoreditch’s Whitechapel mosque, which says it serves the biggest Muslim community in Britain.

David Altheer 080221

* Backstory: A shocking 64% of Jewish ultra-orthodox groups have Covid, says study; Welcome to Whitechapel mosque; A mosque’s message of love and charity 

Street market Whitechapel Rd E1 1BB ©
Colour matters: stylists look forward to Whitechapel Road E1 1BB street market reopenening when feasible

* Links to articles in The Guardian do not imply any approval of the newspaper’s historic involvement with slavery.

* Pictures © All available for sale via that eddress. Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink.

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