VacciNation: Exploring vaccine confidence

Healthwatch' new research explores vaccine confidence amongst people from African, Bangladeshi, Caribbean, and Pakistani backgrounds. We want to understand these barriers to ensure key lessons are taken forward for future public health campaigns.
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Since January 2021, over 15,000 people have shared their views and experiences of the COVID-19 vaccine with Healthwatch. We’ve been able to use this information to quickly raise concerns with the Government, NHS England and other stakeholders throughout the vaccine roll-out programme.

Although overall feedback has been positive, Healthwatch England found that a minority of people from specific communities remain uncertain whether taking the vaccine is right for them. To understand why, what was lacking from the current roll-out strategy and help address concerns, we commissioned Traverse to look at groups with lower vaccine take-up.

This research included in-depth conversations and online exercises with 95 participants from African, Bangladeshi, Caribbean, and Pakistani ethnicity over five weeks during March and April 2021.

Key findings

Attitudes to the COVID-19 vaccine are incredibly personal, so we cannot make broad conclusions about the views of whole communities. However, understanding the reasons behind mistrust and low confidence in our healthcare system is a step towards addressing health inequalities moving forward.

Our research uncovered five ways to increase public confidence:

  1. Individual agency: Give people the ability to decide about the vaccine by providing them with all the information.
  2. Independence: People are more likely to trust organisations and people, like doctors, scientists and the NHS, when they act independently from the Government. 
  3. Transparency: Transparency and trust go hand in hand. It’s essential to make all information about the vaccine public and accessible.
  4. Experience: The public trust and rely more on the experiences of frontline healthcare workers, local doctors and everyday people.
  5. Targeted messaging can miss the mark: Black and Asian people felt singled out and forced into a decision through targeted campaigns. Reaching out to these communities and engaging locally and directly was more effective.

Find out more and read the full report

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