The proportion of black or black British adults reporting hesitancy over coronavirus vaccines has halved in roughly a month, official figures show.

Overall positive vaccine sentiment among the British population has risen to 94% in March from 78% in December, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Six per cent of 17,200 respondents reported vaccine hesitancy between February 17 to March 14 – down from 9% of respondents during the previous data collection period.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

About a fifth (22%) of black or black British adults reported hesitancy – half the 44% who reported hesitancy previously between January 13 and February 7.

This was the highest level in all ethnic groups, with 13% of adults in the Asian or Asian British group reporting hesitancy and 12% of those with mixed ethnicity.

Separate ONS figures estimating vaccination rates in England earlier this week found that older people from black African backgrounds are more than seven times as likely as white British people to have not received a coronavirus vaccine.

Also this week, Sir Lenny Henry wrote a letter urging black Britons to get jabbed, acknowledging their “legitimate worries and concerns” but imploring them to trust the facts from the nation’s professors, doctors and scientists.

The ONS defined hesitancy as adults who have refused a vaccine, say they would be unlikely to get a vaccine when offered, and those who responded “neither likely nor unlikely”, “don’t know” or “prefer not to say” when asked.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Younger adults, parents with young children, unemployed people and renters also reported higher levels of vaccine hesitancy compared with the general population.

One in eight adults aged 16-29 reported vaccine hesitancy in the latest data period – down from 17% between January 13 and February 7.

Eleven per cent of parents with a dependent child younger than five years old reported hesitancy, compared with 16% in the previous data period.

Some 12% of adults in the most deprived areas of England reported hesitancy, compared with 3% of adults in the country’s least deprived areas, the ONS said.

Coronavirus graphic
(PA Graphics)

This was a drop from 16% and 7% respectively from the previous data period.

Some 14% of unemployed people reported hesitancy, compared with 6% of people who were employed or self employed, and hesitancy was reported by 10% of renters.

Tim Vizard, from the ONS Public Policy Analysis division, said: “Over the past few months, we have seen attitudes across most of the population becoming more positive towards Covid-19 vaccination.

“However, there is still hesitancy among some groups, including young people, black or black British, and those living in the most deprived areas”