Why are so many British Asians refusing to take the vaccine?
British Asians are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, but the vaccine take-up rate is lower in South Asian communities.
Public health officials in Britain are trying to get their heads around a really tricky problem. Why are so many British people of South Asian origin - who are more at risk of getting Coronavirus and of dying from it - reluctant to be vaccinated against the virus?
It's called vaccine hesitancy. And it's not only endangering the lives of those who choose not to get the jab, but it also risks delaying the wider recovery from the pandemic.
There are many paradoxes about this virus which are not yet fully understood. Britain has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates anywhere in the world. For every 100,000 people in Britain, 170 have died from COVID. Although the number of deaths has started to fall as a result of the latest Lockdown, across the United Kingdom - which has a population similar to the state of Tamil Nadu - there are still on average more than 900 COVID-related deaths a day.
Put it another way, according to the figures collated by the highly regarded Johns Hopkins University in the U.S., there are proportionately fifteen times more COVID deaths in Britain than in India. Fifteen times!
Conversely, within Britain, people of South Asian origin and other ethnic minorities are at significantly high risk of succumbing to the virus than the population at large. According to government compiled statistics, coronavirus mortality rates for Bangladeshi and black African men up to 65 are five times the rate for white males of the same age. The risk faced by those of Indian origin is not as high but still well above the national average.
There are lots of theories to account for this - a greater role within the health and caring services, the wider prevalence of diabetes and other underlying conditions, more crowded family homes, higher levels of poverty, the impact of structural racism - but these are just theories not proven explanations.
It doesn't seem to make sense. While South Asians living in South Asia have a much lower risk of death from COVID than Britain's white majority, South Asians living in Britain are at higher risk.
The saving grace of the British government's response to the pandemic is the success of its mass vaccine programme, overseen by the state-run National Health Service. So far more than 12 million people have received their first jab, and soon one-in-five of the population will have a basic level of protection. The emphasis is on reaching those most at risk - particularly the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.
But this is where another apparent anomaly kicks in. Although those of South Asian descent are at higher risk, they are also more likely to refuse to be vaccinated. This anti-vaccine attitude is much more pronounced among all of Britain's ethnic minorities than among the general population.
Take the city of Bradford in the north of England, a former textiles centre which is now very diverse, and the home to large communities which came to Britain from Mirpur, Punjab and Bangladesh. Overall more than four-in-five of Bradford's elderly, those aged 80 and over, have had their first vaccination. But among the elderly of Pakistani origin, fewer than half have been vaccinated - and many elderly Punjabis and Mirpuris have insisted they don't want the vaccine.
There are all sorts of reasons for this refusal: a certain fatalism of the 'whatever God wills' kind; misinformation suggesting that the vaccine contains foetal material, animal blood, microchips or other dubious material (all of which are wrong, just by the way); suspicion that the jab doesn't work or may even make you ill; and a deep-seated distrust of the medical authorities and indeed in some cases of science-based allopathic medicine.
To seek to allay these concerns, the BBC has generated content in five South Asian languages - Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati and Sylheti - featuring medical experts in conversation with community leaders.
The actor Adil Ray - whose father is from Lahore and whose Kenya-born mother has roots in India - has launched a more ambitious initiative, a five-minute celebrity video with the message: 'Take the Vaccine'.
"Hello, Namaste, Sat Sir Akaal, Asalaam Alaikum", are the opening words, delivered by the actor Meera Syal. Also taking part from the acting profession are Sanjeev Bhaskar and Shobna Gulati, along with cricketer Moeen Ali, politicians Sadiq Khan and Sayeeda Warsi, comedian Romesh Ranganathan and TV personality Anita Rani.
"India is one of the global leaders in vaccine manufacturing", remarks Bollywood's Boman Irani in the video. "Your relatives in this part of the world are alive today because of their trust in vaccines."
But among some British Asians, and the elderly in particular, an instinctive distrust of vaccines may take a lot of shifting.