Uptake of the coronavirus vaccine has been lower among ethnic minorities in Scotland, with African groups having the lowest levels of inoculation, the latest data shows.
Rates are also lower among Asian Scots and those of Black or Caribbean heritage, figures from Public Health Scotland show.
Other studies have found similarly lower levels of vaccination among ethnic minorities elsewhere in the UK.
In Scotland, the difference has been most apparent in the 70 to 74 age range, where first dose uptake is 97.2% for the white ethnic group and 73.7% for the African ethnic group.
For the Asian group in this age range, uptake was at 89.7% while the figure for Black or Caribbean Scots was 93.8%.
While uptake was high in all age ranges among white Scots, it varied considerably among Black or Caribbean Scots, with uptake ranging from 96.0% in the over 80s to 46.0% in those aged 18-29 years.
Across all age ranges, vaccination uptake stood at 86.7% for the white group, 73.6% for the Asian group, 68.6% for the “mixed” ethnic group, 63% for the Black or Caribbean group and 61.9% for the African group.
The Public Health Scotland report released on Wednesday included vaccination data from between December 8, 2020 and July 13 this year.
The report noted: “These analyses highlight differences in uptake between demographic groups, but they do not examine causative factors for the inequalities, which will be numerous and complex.
“The reasons for differences in coverage of vaccination between ethnic groups and deprived areas may include access to services and mobility, service delivery, health literacy, vaccine acceptability or other characteristics.
In the 2011 census, around 141,000 Scots were identified as being of an Asian ethnicity, while around 30,000 were identified as being African and just under 7,000 as Black or Caribbean.
Earlier this year the BEMIS Scotland umbrella group, which represents voluntary organisations working with ethnic minorities, identified a number of concerns around health messaging and language barriers.
They said some may be wary of engaging with the vaccination programme due to fears it was connected to the Home Office.
BEMIS raised particular concerns about misinformation reaching Black and African groups, including the claim that they were being used as “guinea pigs” for vaccines.
The Scottish Government has previously said it was keen to overcome any issues around vaccine hesitancy among certain groups in society.
Responding to the data, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “These figures should be a reminder that there is no space for complacency on the vaccine rollout.
“We clearly need to do more to reach ethnic minority communities, and crucially to understand the various concerns and the barriers that may be stopping people from getting vaccinated.
“Ethnic minority people have already been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and we need to ensure they are not put at higher risk again by low vaccination rates.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “All adults in Scotland have now been offered their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.
“We continue to work with health boards and partners in faith, community and third sector groups to respond to data and evidence which indicates lower uptake of the vaccine in certain minority ethnic communities.
“Health boards have worked with local organisations to co-create and deliver tailored messaging for minority ethnic groups and have undertaken outreach with communities, offering vaccination drop-in sites at places of worship such as churches, mosques and gurdwaras.
“At a national level, we have ensured our Covid-19 vaccination communications are suitable for everyone in Scotland, with the production of translated information and assets in a range of languages on NHS Inform and the development of our vaccine explainer video, informed by insights from organisations representing minority ethnic communities.”