People in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in Salisbury who are eligible to receive the Covid vaccine are being encouraged to come forward.

Nationally and locally, there is concern over the uptake gap in jabs between people in BAME communities and white individuals.

It comes as recent figures show residents from minority backgrounds in the over 80 category being less likely to have been vaccinated compared to white people.

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In Salisbury, like in other parts of the country, work is underway to contrast inaccurate and misleading information which could affect the rollout process.

'It's totally safe' 

Salisbury City Councillor, Atiqul Hoque, has been speaking to Muslims in the city who are more reluctant to come forward for their jabs.

"As a Muslim I have been encouraging people from BAME communities saying this vaccine is permissible even in religious terms," he said. 

"It doesn't have any animal products and it's totally safe."

Cllr Hoque's parents, originally from Bangladesh, received the first dose of the vaccine at Salisbury Cathedral on Thursday February 18.

"They were a bit concerned but I reassured them that it's nothing to be worried about, you are protecting yourself and others.

"Once I explained to them all the relevant information, they found no reason why they shouldn't take it.

"They are elderly but they feel great and the service was second to none."

To reach as many people as possible across Salisbury's Indian, Bangladeshi and Turkish communities, Cllr Hoque has been translating vital information in Indian and Bengali.

Vaccine leaflets have also been handed out in the local Mosque.

If in doubt, talk to your GP

Staff from Salisbury District Hospital who have been overseeing the vaccination programme would also like to reassure those with reservations.

A spokesperson from Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said: "If anyone has any doubts about the vaccine please speak to your GP because they will tell you this vaccine is safe and contains no animal products, it's gone through a robust regulatory system, it's been properly tested and it will save millions of lives worldwide.

"The safety of the Covid-19 vaccines is being confirmed by the experience of millions of people vaccinated in the UK so far, and it is important that all communities are fully informed about the benefits of vaccination and come forward for the jab when it is their turn."

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