Hostile Environment: Fear is stopping migrants getting the Covid-19 vaccine jab, research suggests

8 February 2021: Morning Star: MORE than 80 per cent of undocumented migrants are too fearful to access the Covid-19 vaccine due to NHS charges and data sharing with the Home Office, new research suggests.

The government stressed today that everyone, regardless of their immigration status, will be offered the vaccine without any checks on their right to be in the country.

But campaigners have warned that reassuring people is not enough to ensure that they feel confident to access healthcare without facing repercussions from immigration enforcement.

A new study of 310 people by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) found that 43 per cent of migrants surveyed said they were too scared to get the vaccine.

The survey also showed that the more precarious a person’s immigration status, the more likely they were to report being too afraid to access healthcare.

Of those with indefinite leave to remain, 17 per cent said they would be scared to access healthcare compared with 81 per cent of those without any form of status.

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Huffington Post (updated 12.1.2021: It’s Harder For Black And Asian People To Trust The Covid Vaccine. Here’s What Needs To Happen

Vaccine distrust and Covid could spell double tragedy for minority groups.

Concerns from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities about the Covid-19 vaccine have not been addressed by the government, campaigners have said, as structural inequalities and historical medical racism has led to “hesitancy” about the jab.

The UK on Tuesday became the first country in the world to start administering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, in a seismic shift in the battle against the pandemic.

But a recent poll by the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary University of London found little more than a third of ethnic minority Londoners (39%) said they were likely to take the jab compared with 70% of white people in the capital. That is despite Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities continuing to be disproportionately hospitalised and killed by Covid-19.

HuffPost UK has spoken to doctors, academics and members of the public, and discovered the concern stems from racial inequality in the healthcare system and the history of medical experimentation on Black people.