CORRIE star Jimmi Harkishin urged Britain’s ethnic minorities to ignore Covid vaccine lies and get jabbed.
He spoke out as NHS and Government chiefs fear conspiracy theorists are spewing dangerous messages online.
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South Asian families are among those being targeted with untrue claims the vaccine contains meat or alcohol, banned in some religions.
Figures suggest black and ethnic minority Brits may be staying away from vaccination centres as a result of misinformation.
Jimmi, who plays Dev in Corrie, joined senior Government figures in urging them to take up the jabs.
He said: “We are all living in such difficult times but Covid-19 has been affecting the Asian communities disproportionately.
“Whatever the reasons for that, whether they are social or medical, it is very important for us to firstly follow the guidelines and secondly embrace the vaccination programme.
“I know there has been an awful lot of misinformation, rumour and speculation about the vaccine but I can’t stress how important the vaccine is in the battle against Covid.
“For the sake of yourself and your families, when you get contacted please please go for the vaccination.”
The bogus information has been targeted at Muslims who do not drink alcohol or eat pork, and Hindus who consider cows to be sacred.
A Sage study this month revealed nearly three-quarters of black Brits (71.8 per cent) were unlikely or very unlikely to get the jab.
However black and ethnic minorities are up to twice as likely to die from Covid as white people.
The Sage study revealed 42.3 per cent of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Brits were unlikely to get the jab, while 84.8 per cent of white Brits said they wanted to be vaccinated.
A Stoke GP surgery said ten times as many patients from ethnic minorities are refusing jabs compared with white Brits.
Furious Cabinet members warned that scaremongering could cost lives.
Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch said: “We must expose the anti-vaxxer disinformation peddled by those who have nothing better to do than scaremonger. It is risking lives and causing harmful, unnecessary division in our society.”
I’m getting it for NHS mum
By Shaun Bailey, Tory London Mayoral Candidate
EVER since coronavirus hit, we’ve worried about key workers. That worry is personal for me. My mum works for the NHS and is on the frontline every day.
She’s not just at risk because of her job. She’s also at risk because of her race. Studies suggest that ethnic minorities are twice as likely to catch the virus.
We don’t fully understand why. But all we need to know is that we’ve finally got a weapon to fight back — the vaccine.
My mum will get her first jab this week. It’s a huge relief for her, for her grandchildren, for me — and for the NHS, who will probably never need to treat her for coronavirus now.
And that’s why it’s vital for everyone to get the jab. The NHS is stretched like never before. Doctors and nurses need us to do our bit.
So I encourage all Sun readers to get their jab — particularly those, like me, from black or Asian communities.
I know some people are worried. Many of us have been targeted with misinformation, often religiously motivated. I understand how important churches, temples, mosques and gurdwaras are to many communities.
So it helps to know that the vaccines have been approved by all religious leaders and councils. Just as it helps to know that every vaccine has been put through a rigorous testing process — and medical professionals have judged them safe.
Most of all, it helps to think about why you’re getting it.
You’re getting the jab to protect friends, family and your community.
When I get the jab, I’ll be getting it for my mum.
And together we can fight misinformation, get vaccinated and give the country a fresh start.
NHS bosses also stressed the Covid vaccines were safe and moves to remove the lies were underway.
Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS medical director, said: “Misinformation remains a key concern and we are working with social media companies so that only trusted, accurate information is shared online.
"The vaccine has already been accepted and endorsed by religious leaders, councils and faith communities.
“We need people in all communities to know the vaccine is safe.”
Jimi’s British-Indian Corrie co-star Shelley King, who plays Yasmeen, also urged Brits to get jabbed.
She said a Pakistani Uber driver told her it was our “duty to protect humanity”, and with no vaccine we risk spreading a killer virus.
Stats show 4,266,577 people in the UK have received the first dose.
False info is risking lives
By Priti Patel, Home Secretary
SAGE has found, unfortunately, there is likely to be a lower vaccine uptake by those from an ethnic minority background.
Hesitancy is highest in the black community, followed by those from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds.
Members of my own community have spoken of their hesitation to have the vaccine, asking questions about the contents and if it will compromise Hindu practices such as having a purely vegetarian diet.
The approved Covid-19 vaccines used in the UK do not contain any animal products.
But false information about the vaccine is putting lives at risk. I praise The Sun for bringing this issue to the fore.
I will do all I can in my role as Home Secretary — and the most senior female politician from an ethnic minority background in the country — to reach out to our wonderfully diverse ethnic communities to support the largest vaccination programme in NHS history.
So many of our doctors and nurses are from these communities. They are saving lives every day and helping to ensure that people from all communities and of all backgrounds are kept safe from this appalling virus.
This vaccine is safe for us all. Together, this is our best chance of beating this virus, irrespective of ethnicity or background.
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