A GP has vowed to call every patient from her surgery who has refused the coronavirus jab, as part of a campaign to fight vaccine hesitancy.

Dr Farzana Hussain says she has already changed the minds of some of the older patients at The Project Surgery in East London.

She is one of a number of senior medics who are concerned about the lack of take up of the vaccination by certain ethnic groups.

As a BAME woman Dr Hussain says the issue is personal to her.

She said: “I want to drive out hesitancy and drive up vaccination among my patients.

“I’m phoning everyone at my practice who is eligible but yet to get the vaccine to talk to them about why and have already reached more than 50 people aged 65 and older so far, with many of them now looking to take up the invite.

“In the vast majority of cases there is a hesitancy rather than outright rejection of the vaccine.”

Dr Hussain added that some of her patients had expressed a “range of concerns” including various misinformation, including a “risk of infertility”, which is “completely untrue”.

“This disinformation comes from a real sense of shame that not being able to bear children brings and is a particular issue among women from African and Asian backgrounds,” said Dr Hussain.

“They would refuse the vaccine if there was a 1% chance of that happening but I want to reassure people that there is no evidence of this at all.

“Being a British Bangladeshi woman, the issue of hesitancy among a group who are disproportionately affected by Covid is one that really hits home.

“It’s so personal to me, people from BAME communities are dying because of misinformation; British Bangladeshi’s are five times more likely to die due to Covid.”

Patients have also raised concerns on religious grounds such as an uncertainty around whether it would break fasting during Ramadan says Dr Hussain, who is a practising Muslim.

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She also believes that mothers have a huge role to play in helping people getting vaccinated, as they have an influential role in the family.

“One older lady I spoke to was worried about long-term side effects but after talking it through with her and with the support of her son, and desire to see her six-year-old grandchild grow up – she changed her mind,” she said.

“There was no doubt in my mind to get the vaccine in order to protect my children and make sure I am still here to look after them.

“I want others to make that same choice.”


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