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Wednesday 10th February 2021

Croydon BME Forum is joining forces with local organisations in a bid to inform the black community about the Covid-19 vaccines following the recent low uptake. A recent study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that 21% of black people over the age of 80, who are currently eligible to have the vaccine, have been vaccinated compared to 43% of their white counterparts.

Other studies have found that BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities of all ages are unlikely to have the jab when offered. This is despite the fact black people are twice as likely to die from the virus.

Croydon BME Forum is partnering with South West London CCG and the Asian Resource Centre of Croydon to deliver a virtual outreach programme aimed at those from BAME communities to provide information, answer questions and challenge the myths which are circulating around the vaccine. Upcoming plans include interactive Zoom events, smaller community sessions held online and video interviews with health experts.

Andrew Brown, CEO at Croydon BME Forum, said: “Covid-19 has disproportionately affected people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Many more are dying from the virus, yet many from these communities are refusing to be vaccinated when asked.

“We know many have concerns, which is why they are hesitant to take the vaccine, so over the next few months we will be engaging with local communities to give them a chance to ask experts about the vaccine so that they can make an informed decision.”

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a GP in Thornton Heath, said: “Covid-19 has caused higher infection and death rates among BAME communities, so it’s really worrying that so many in the black community are reluctant to have the vaccine.

“We understand there is a lack of trust which stems from racism and education and health inequalities, but if you want to help slow the virus, save lives and protect yourself you should learn all the facts and then make an informed decision about the vaccine.

“I’m really happy to be working with Croydon BME Forum on the Covid-19 vaccination outreach programme. I look forward to providing factual information to help people make informed choices. I hope we are able to engage with many people in the borough and dispel some of the myths that are going round in the community.”
Dr Fernandes is working with Croydon BME Forum on its virtual outreach programme. The next online event is called ‘Covid-19 and the Vaccine – Should the Black Community take the Vaccine?’ taking place on Thursday, 11th February between 7pm-9.30pm. To register please visit:

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