Black Canadian leaders say governments must do more to help overcome vaccine hesitancy in their communities.
Toronto orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ato Sekyi-Otu, leader of the health-care task force of the Black Opportunity Fund, says a new survey confirms unpublished public health data that hesitancy is higher among Black Canadians than among white or non-Black racialized people.
The online survey by the Innovative Research Group in partnership with the Black Opportunity Fund and the African Canadian Civic Engagement Council cannot be given a margin of error.
It found that as of early June, when more than 60 per cent of Canadians had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Black Canadians surveyed were far less likely to report getting their first shot, and far more likely to express hesitation at doing so than white Canadians.
Sekyi-Oto says governments need to mandate that people can take time off work to be vaccinated and take immediate steps to provide culturally sensitive and appropriate delivery and education about vaccines in Black communities.
The survey is being released as the Public Health Agency of Canada reports new data showing COVID-19 death rates in the first eight months of the pandemic were highest in communities with lower incomes and higher visible minority populations.