Covid-19: ONS figures confirm higher mortality rates in ethnic minority groups during Omicron

Published by Scott Challinor on April 11th 2022, 12:00am

The latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics have confirmed that higher death rates from Covid-19 among ethnic minority groups persisted during the Omicron wave.

Mortality remained highest specifically for Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Black Caribbean groups compared to the White British population, similar earlier on in the third wave of the pandemic, before Omicron became the dominant variant.

Within data harvested between January 10 and February 16, 2022, among the male population, mortality was 2.7 times higher in the Bangaldeshi community compared to White British, and 2.2 times higher among Pakistani males.

Among females, deaths were 2.5 times higher than White British in Pakistani communities and 1.9 times higher among Bangladeshi women.

Notably, within these communities, ONS figures show that vaccine uptake remains low compared to that seen among White Brits.

Veena Raleigh, senior fellow at The King’s Fund, commented: “This [higher mortality rate] is deeply concerning given that rates of vaccine uptake remain low in these communities. Only about one-third of Pakistani and Black Caribbean adults, and less than half of Bangladeshi adults, have had three jabs, compared with 76 per cent in the White British and 70 per cent in the Indian and Chinese groups.

“In the decade preceding the pandemic, overall mortality was lower in most ethnic minority groups than in the White British and Mixed groups. This latest data shows that the trend has mostly continued throughout the pandemic, with the exception of Bangladeshi males and females, and Black Caribbean and Pakistani males, among whom higher Covid-19 mortality has reversed this earlier pattern.”

Raleigh went on to say that the latest statistics were further indicative of the disproportionate impact of Covid on ethnic minorities, and that government must intervene and address underlying inequalities if it is to properly execute its levelling-up agenda across society.

“This is further testimony to the grossly disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on some ethnic minority groups, as it has had on all the poorest and most vulnerable groups in our society. If we are to ‘live with Covid’, then efforts to promote preventive measures and improve vaccine uptake in these communities must be strengthened.

“If ministers want to meet their levelling-up ambitions, then addressing the underlying factors driving these and other deep-rooted health inequalities seen across the population must be a priority in the government’s post-Covid-19 recovery plans.”

Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash

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Scott Challinor
Business Editor
April 11th 2022, 12:00am

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