UCL Grand Challenges


Novel community-based digital intervention address ethnic inequalities in Covid vaccine confidence

A novel community-based digital intervention to address ethnic inequalities in Covid-19 vaccine confidence.

Inspecting a specimen in a microtube.

1 September 2021

Image credit: Mary Hinkley, UCL Creative Media Services 


Grant: Grand Challenges Small Grants
Year awarded: 2021-22
Amount awarded: £5,000


  • Dr Shoba Poduval, Primary Care & Population Health
  • Dr Alison Hicks, Information Studies

This project addressed a problem which is of national and international societal relevance. The Covid-19 vaccine has been described by public health experts as a critical tool for controlling the pandemic as herd immunity can break the chain of transmission. The vaccine campaign in England has been successful but inequalities in uptake exist, with Black and some Asian ethnic groups having lower uptake than White people, despite having a higher risk of death from the virus. This study aimed to help address these inequalities, and work with communities to improve the health of those hardest hit by the pandemic.

The project, in collaboration with the University of Brighton: 

  • developed a digital storytelling intervention to increase Covid-19 vaccine confidence with a low uptake ethnic minority group in London;
  • determined the feasibility of sharing the intervention through community networks;
  • determined the feasibility of collecting data on the views of participants on the intervention; intervention delivery and its impact on their decision to have the vaccine.

Recognising the importance of community storytelling, a series of short films were made as a part of the project, in collaboration with Ross Adamson and Isobel Creed at the University of Brighton. The films were written and produced by women from Skills Enterprise (a charity supporting disadvantaged communities in Newham). As part of the research, the project is now examining what impact the films could have on people’s views of their own health and how we share health information. The films can be accessed here.

The Community Based Digital Interventions project exhibition panel at the Grand Challenges, Grand Impacts exhibition, 2023