Prioritise BAME patients for Covid-19 vaccination, RCGP urges

7th December 2020 by NASGP

Prioritise BAME patients for Covid-19 vaccination, RCGP urges

The NASGP supports calls by the RCGP to prioritise Black, Asian and minority ethnic patients for Covid-19 vaccinations, given the extensive evidence that they are at higher risk. 

Prof Martin Marshall has written to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, for detailed rationale for his decision to exclude Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities on the initial prioritisation list. 

He writes: “Data clearly indicates that patients from ethnic minority backgrounds are more susceptible to contracting and dying from the virus.  

While some of this may be due to the higher prevalence of pre-existing conditions within the BAME communities, a recent study by the Office of National Statistics suggested that is not sufficient to explain the disparity in mortality rates from Covid-19, and emphasises the importance of demographic and socio-economic factors, such as place of residence and occupational exposure.”

The NASGP fully supports the RCGP’s request for a rationale.

GP locums are disproportionately at risk from Covid-19, according to findings by the Health Foundation, in part due to the diversity in the sector.

“Our analysis suggests that a large majority of GPs older than the age of 70 are likely to be from a black and minority ethnic background. 

“We also see that locums are substantially over-represented among GPs at very high risk from COVID-19. Less than 10% of the GP workforce are locums, but locums make up 17% of GPs at very high risk.”

Dr Richard Fieldhouse writes: “The evidence is so clear on the importance of protecting these communities that I would be very happy if Matt Hancock just simply reversed this decision. Adding BAME patients to the initial prioritisation list as suggested by the data follows the science.”

Read the RCGP letter in full online.

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