LONDON: British-Asian celebrities including cricketer Moeen Ali and comedians Romesh Ranganathan and Meera Syal have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine.
The video was organized by “Citizen Khan” creator Adil Ray, who said that he wanted to tackle falsehoods surrounding vaccinations for those from ethnic minority communities.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and former Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi are also included in the video.
Conspiracy theories and myths about coronavirus vaccines have caused concerns about uptake, particularly in the South Asian community.
“We all just feel we needed to do something,” Ray told the BBC.
He appears in the five-minute video with celebrities like former “Coronation Street” actress Shobna Gulati, who used her space in the clip to say: “We will find our way through this. And we will be united once again with our friends and our families. All we have to do is take the vaccination.”
Comedians Sanjeev Bhaskar, Asim Chaudhry and Ranganathan were on hand to debunk common coronavirus myths.
Ranganathan joked: “There’s no chip or tracker in the vaccine to keep watching where you go. Your mobile phone actually does a much better job of that.”
A recent poll commissioned by the Royal Society of Public Health showed that just 57 percent of black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) would be happy to receive a vaccine, compared with 79 percent of white Britons.
Dr. Harpreet Sood, an NHS doctor heading up an anti-discrimination effort, said fake news and myths were likely behind the worrying numbers for the BAME community.
The UK government has recently started to tackle the problem directly, with UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick arguing that faith leaders were crucial to vaccine uptake. His announcement came as he opened the UK’s first vaccination center in a mosque.
Jonathon Kitson, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, told Arab News: “Mass vaccination is the only way out of the pandemic, and it is great to see people from all backgrounds working to dispel myths, fake news and conspiracy theories like this.”
He added: “The faster the rollout can take place, the sooner we can get back to normal.”
Sam Bowman, co-founder of a new myth-dispelling website called “Anti-Virus: The COVID-19 FAQ,” told Arab News: “It is absolutely vital that everyone realizes that the vaccine is a safe, effective ticket back to normal life. It will mean that people of all ages are safe to see each other again, and go back out to work and their old lives.”
He added: “It’s great to see this video correct the misinformation being promoted — anyone pushing an unscientific anti-vaccine lie needs to be publicly contradicted and exposed as the shysters they are.”