Covid-19: South Asians in Britain at higher risk, UK study finds

People from a South Asian heritage, including Indians, are among the ethnic groups more at risk of catching and being seriously affected by Covid-19, a new UK government commissioned review concluded on Friday.

The Covid-19 Health Inequalities’ study found that people from black and South Asian ethnic groups in Britain are still dying with the coronavirus at higher rates than those of white ethnicity, with vaccination rates, occupation and household size and make up among the factors behind the disparity.

The updated analysis confirms previously reported figures that people from Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic backgrounds were at a greater risk of death from Covid-19, than the white British group.

“In the first two waves, the higher death rate seen in ethnic minorities was primarily due to their higher risk of infection compared to whites particularly in older age groups,” notes Dr Raghib Ali, Senior Clinical Research Associate, University of Cambridge and Consultant Acute Medicine, Oxford University Hospitals, appointed the British government’s independent adviser on Covid-19 and ethnicity.

In the third wave, however, we are seeing lower infection rates in ethnic minorities than in white people, but rates of hospital admissions and deaths are still higher with the pattern now matching levels of vaccine uptake in higher risk groups. Although vaccine uptake in all ethnic minorities has increased very significantly over the last year, the proportion unvaccinated is twice as high in South Asian people and four times as high in black people, he pointed out.

Ali used the latest review to highlight that it is another reminder that the vaccines are the best protection, especially if you live in a multi-generational household as South Asians in Britain tend to do. He also urged people to take up the booster vaccines to top up immunity, currently being offered in the UK.

“We know that Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities and this report helps us further understand the reasons,” said UK Minister for Vaccines and Public Health Minister for Vaccines and Public Health Maggie Throup.

The research found that vaccination has sharply reduced Covid-19 death rates for people of all ethnicities. Overall, British Indians tend to reflect positive uptakes of vaccination and at least 70 per cent of people from the Indian, Mixed White and Asian and Asian Other groups rated the communications around the rollout as very or quite good.

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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