Prince Charles has told of his sadness at the lack of uptake of the coronavirus vaccine by ethnic communities, as he urged action “to combat this relentless pandemic”.
The Prince of Wales will this week address the “sobering milestone” of more than 100,000 deaths in the UK due to Covid-19 as the pandemic continues to rage.
The heir on Thursday is taking part in a day of action aimed at countering distrust and will back a campaign to encourage black and Asian people to ignore “nonsense” anti-vaccine propaganda and get inoculated.
The Queen’s decision to go public with her Covid vaccination was recently described by insiders as a “poke in the eye” for anti-vaxxers.
Alarming stats show that take-up of the jab among parts of the black and Asian population is half that of white people.
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The Prince of Wales Charles, 72, last week confirmed he had received his first vaccine dose alongside wife Camilla, 73.
Charles, who contracted coronavirus last year, will make his plea to minority communities at an online seminar hosted by the British Asian Trust, a charity of which he is the founding patron.
The Prince will say: “Over the past year, we have all been inspired by innumerable accounts of dedication to duty not only from those working tirelessly in our marvellous National Health Service, or in social care, but also in all forms of public service.
“We have needed every last reserve of their selfless service and commitment to help defeat this pernicious threat.
“Recently, I fear we have reached a most sobering milestone in this seemingly interminable campaign as we marked the tragic loss of a hundred thousand souls.
“It is clear that the virus has affected all parts of the country, and all sections of society – but it is also clear that there are particular challenges faced in particular sections of our society, especially in some ethnic minority communities.
“What saddens me even further is to hear that those challenges are being made even worse by the variable uptake of the vaccines which finally offer us a way out of the suffering of the past year.”
The prince’s involvement is considered to organisers as a huge coup, as he is well respected in many ethnic communities, particularly among the older generation.
A royal source said: “The prince was delighted to be asked to be involved and certainly hopes the campaign to convince those who may be sceptical about the vaccine are convinced otherwise.”
Other participants at the event, which will be streamed live to several Muslim television channels, include Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, and senior black and Asian medics.