A dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Ottawa is backing a new study investigating COVID-19 immune response and vaccine hesitancy in the South Asian community. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Ottawa is backing a new study investigating COVID-19 immune response and vaccine hesitancy in the South Asian community. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

New study to look at COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South Asian community

Experts say South Asians are at between five to 10 times higher risk than white Canadians

Ottawa is backing a new study investigating COVID-19 immune response and vaccine hesitancy in the South Asian community.

The federal government is investing roughly $1.5 million to support research into the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on this population.

Experts say South Asians are at between five to 10 times higher risk of COVID-19 infection compared to white Canadians.

A cross-Canada team of researchers involved the COVID CommUNITY-South Asian study will explore the social, economic and biological factors that could be contributing to these disparities.

The study is set to collect data from 3,000 South Asians in the areas around Toronto and Vancouver, and will build on earlier research on these communities.

Principal investigator Dr. Sonia Anand, a professor of medicine at McMaster University, says participants will be recruited at vaccination clinics in hot spots with large South Asian populations, such as the city of Brampton, just west of Toronto.

Co-investigator Dr. Lawrence Loh, medical officer of health in Ontario’s Peel Region, says this targeted approach is critical to increasing vaccine uptake among the South Asian community.

—The Canadian Press

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