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Avellon Williams 

LONDON- A new study suggests that people from black African and Caribbean backgrounds are at greater risk of Covid-19 death due to a lower vaccination rate.

A higher rate of death from Covid-19 has been observed in most ethnic minority groups compared to white British people during the third wave of the virus.

The majority of these differences can be attributed to social and demographic factors, such as geography, type of residence, and health.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), vaccination rates are contributing to the elevated death rate observed in some groups.

This is the first time vaccination uptake has been linked with estimates of mortality rates.


In England, after adjusting for age, demographic factors, and preexisting conditions, the risk of death involving Covid-19 was 1.4 times higher for black African males between June 13, 2021, and December 1, 2021.

However, after adjusting for vaccination status – to reflect whether someone has received their first, second, or third vaccination – this difference was no longer apparent.

Similar results were seen for black Caribbean males, with a 1.7-fold increase in risks before adjusting for vaccination status, but no excess risk afterward.

The risk of Covid-19 death among black African and Caribbean females was estimated at 1.8 and 2.1 times greater than white British females before adjustment for vaccination, respectively. 

However, this excess risk disappeared after adjusting for vaccine uptake.

According to ONS, once vaccination status is taken into account, there is “no evidence” that the risk of death related to Covid-19 is greater for this ethnic group than for the white British group.

Despite this, people who identify as black African and Caribbean tend to have the lowest vaccination rates among those over 50.

A large part of the excess risk can be attributed to differences in vaccination coverage between these two groups and the white British group, according to the ONS.


Based on the ONS’s findings overall, the risk of death from Covid-19 during the third wave of the virus was similar to the white British group for all ethnic groups, except for Bangladeshi males (2.2 times higher, females 2.1 times higher) and Pakistani men (1.2 times higher).

Vahe Nafilyan, a senior statistician at the ONS health and life events division, said:

“Today’s analysis shows that the risk of death from Covid-19 has remained higher in most ethnic minority groups than in white British ethnic groups since the vaccination programme began.”

In our analyses of earlier periods, we presented evidence that socio-demographic and economic factors, as well as health, explain much of the differences in mortality.

“For the first time, we show that the lower vaccination coverage in some ethnic groups also contributes to the elevated risk of Covid-19 death, particularly in the black African and black Caribbean groups.”

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Avellon Williams