Sadiq Khan Demands Minorities Get Preferential Access to Coronavirus Vaccines

Sadiq Khan, British Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor, delivers his speech during the final day of the Labour party conference in Brighton, east Sussex, south England, on September 25, 2013. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has demanded that black people and other ethnic minorities receive priority access to the Chinese coronavirus vaccine.

The leftist Mayor claimed that so-called BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) groups are disproportionally affected by the virus, and therefore should be placed at the top of the list when the vaccine is distributed.

Speaking to BBC Radio on Monday evening, Mr Khan said: “The NHS and Public Health England are working up criteria for who gets the vaccine first. Basically speaking, it’s done by age.

“But I have asked for additional things to be factored in, and that includes concerns I have got around black, Asian, ethnic minority Londoners who disproportionately suffered during the main deaths we saw in March, April, May and June.”

“My concern is that in London there is a greater hesitancy to taking vaccines than in other parts of the country – the take-up of smallpox, polio, MMR, HPV, it’s less in London than in other parts of the country,” he said.

“So one of the things we have got to do is give Londoners the confidence it’s worth getting this vaccine, and also make sure that the most vulnerable – the most likely to catch the virus and, God forbid, die – get the vaccine first,” Khan concluded.

In August, Mr Khan penned an editorial for the left-wing British mainstay The Guardian, in which he claimed that “structural racism” was the cause for the increased coronavirus death rate experienced by ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom.

“Even though it can be uncomfortable for some to acknowledge, we cannot ignore the barriers of discrimination and structural racism that exist in our society, which contribute to ethnic minorities being more likely to suffer from poverty, have underlying health conditions and work in insecure, low-paid jobs,” Khan wrote.

The idea that so-called structural racism was a determining factor in coronavirus death rates was shot down by government advisor and Senior Clinical Research Associate at the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, Dr Raghib Ali.

In October, Dr Ali said that “structural racism is not a reasonable explanation” for the disparate outcomes for different ethnicities.

“If structural racism was an important problem, not saying it doesn’t exist, but if it was an important problem in healthcare outcomes, you’d expect it to be reflected not just in Covid but with other outcomes as well,” he said.

Many black and minority ethnic people have participated in closely-packed mass demonstrations form Black Lives Matter since the onset of the pandemic, and there have also been issues with the Muslim community sometimes ignoring regulations.

The British government has purchased 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, as well as an additional 5 million doses of the vaccine developed by Moderna. While the Moderna vaccine is not expected to be distributed in the United Kingdom until the Spring, government ministers are hoping to roll out the Pfizer vaccine by next month, according to POLITICO.

There are also hopes that a vaccine developed by Oxford University in conjunction with British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca will be available to the public by Christmas.

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he will not rule out making the vaccines mandatory.

A recent survey of Londoners conducted online between October 19th and November 2nd found that around one-third would not take or are unlikely to take the vaccine, with nearly half of those surveyed responding that they did not trust the NHS to successfully administer the vaccine when it is available.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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