PRINCE Charles yesterday made a passionate plea for all Brits to get their Covid jab — as stars urged ethnic minorities to have theirs.
Charles, who battled the virus last year, said he has been “saddened by the variable uptake” in some communities.
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Comedians Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal and Romesh Ranganathan plus Olympian Denise Lewis are launching a campaign to get more life-saving jabs in arms.
Olympic legend Denise urged reluctant ethnic minority Brits to get jabbed.
The gold-medal winning heptathlete, 48, assured them: “It’s very, very rare for vaccines to have a long-term side effect, but what we do know is that Covid’s long-term implications are deadly.”
Denise and a host of stars are calling for more uptake of the vaccine in a video made by Citizen Khan creator Adil Ray.
A total of 16.4million Brits have now had their first jab.
NHS figures show 213,000 black Brits have had their first dose — a significantly lower proportion than for white and Indian Brits.
Just 116,000 in the Pakistani community have been jabbed, while uptake among Bangladeshis is 37,663.
For those three groups, roughly half of those eligible have had their vaccine.
Sanjeev Bhaskar, 57, star of The Kumars at No42, said: “The vaccines have gone through the same strict processes and regulations as other vaccines such as for measles, mumps and rubella and TB.”
His wife and former co-star Meera Syal, 59, simply said: “My mum has had the vaccine.”
Comic Romesh Ranganathan dismissed wild conspiracy theories putting off some, saying: “There is no chip or tracker in the vaccine to keep watch of where you go, your phone does a much better job of that.”
Cricketer Moeen Ali added: “Many in our communities have suffered the most largely due to our efforts on the frontline at the NHS or as key workers.”
Only a third of black healthcare workers at a Midlands hospital trust got the Covid jab by the beginning of this month.
Just 37 per cent agreed to get the vaccine at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, a report revealed.
University of Leicester scientists found 59 per cent of the trust’s South Asian workers took the vaccine, while 70 per cent of the white staff had the jab.
The stars’ message was backed by Prince Charles who battled the virus last year and was jabbed this month.
Charles said it would be a tragedy if the benefits of vaccination were not enjoyed by all.
He told the British Asian Trust: “Vaccination will save lives, will prevent serious illness, will protect our health service and will allow us to start to hope that things might return in some sense to normal — for every member of our society.”
He added: “It is 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 vaccines which finally offer us a way out of the suffering of the past year.”
Yesterday the Premier League and Beano comic boosted the rollout with messages on social media.
Brits can also show support on Facebook and Instagram by updating their profiles with a range of NHS-themed graphics.
Designer Zandra Rhodes and TV star Brian Blessed have also backed the campaign.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We know people are turning to social media more than ever to stay in touch.
“These new graphics will make it easy for people to share their support for the jab and thank the NHS — whether that’s to mark the pivotal moment that they get their vaccine, or pledge to get it when it’s their turn.”
Vaccine bosses say they are on track to offer every adult two doses by September.
But official data reveals only half of care home staff in London have had a Covid jab.
It follows concerns that some staff in the sector are reluctant to get the jab despite assurances.
Around 88 per cent of NHS staff who work with patients have been given their first shot.
But one in six people originally told to shield have yet to get a jab.
According to the data up to February 16, 1.8million first doses had been given to the group — made up of about 2.2million high-risk Brits.
A further 454 deaths were recorded yesterday taking the total to 119,387.
The latest figure was down a third on last Thursday’s 678.
Another 12,057 cases were recorded, meaning 4,083,242 have tested positive in all.
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