An NHS surgeon known for fighting knife violence said he would fight coronavirus vaccine reluctance and not want people “to die from misinformation”.
Dr. Martin Griffiths, who received a Covid-19 vaccine, is calling on colleagues and others from black, Asian, and other minority groups to get the sting.
Ethnic people are more prone to Covid-19, but research shows that they are among the most reluctant to get vaccinated.
Dr. Griffiths said the situation was “tragic” and something he “won’t tolerate”.
The surgeon, who is also the NHS National Clinical Director for Violence Reduction, added, “I had coronavirus, I’ve seen it up close. They don’t want to die. The people who are bad are the same People who are hesitant about taking the vaccine and it’s tragic.
“Due to Covid, ethnic minorities are occupying a disproportionately large number of beds and are also hesitant to get what could save them.
“We need to gather around these groups and give them the support they need so that they can take the push and save their own life and that of their loved ones.”
Dr. Griffiths, who works at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, urges patients and colleagues to share the message that the approved coronavirus vaccines are safe for all and are key to reopening communities.
“Spread the word, not the virus,” he added.
In particular, he believes that more needs to be done to address concerns from staff such as security guards, porters, transport workers and cleaners.
He continued, “These are valued people who are an integral part of the health system that I have worked with for 30 years and I don’t want them to die from misinformation.
“These are the most vulnerable roles for patients, and they are likely to be health decision-makers in their families too, with a butterfly effect that is having an impact on their communities. It is important that we listen and help.”
Dr. Griffiths said he recently vaccinated a security guard who had been encouraged by colleagues to speak to him about their concerns.
He said important conversations between staff and family members at home are where “the real changes in attitudes can be made”.
Coronavirus vaccines are dispensed in more than 1,500 locations across England, including sports stadiums, race tracks, exhibition grounds, cathedrals, churches, a temple, a mosque and a museum.
Minister for the Use of Covid Vaccines Nadhim Zahawi said: “Dr. Martin Griffiths has an extremely important message that the vaccine is safe for everyone and it is important that it be heard loud and clear.
“It is a top priority for the government that we support black and other ethnic minorities to get the right information so they can protect themselves and their loved ones.
“As part of this, we work with faith and community leaders to dispel myths, offer advice on the benefits of vaccination, and provide clear details on how their communities can get a sting.
“Martin’s message is clear: this virus is deadly and it is of the utmost importance that every eligible person benefits from a vaccine.”