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IOE joins effort to address vaccine hesitancy in ethnic minority groups

12 August 2021

13 universities, community organisations and small and medium size enterprises will collaborate to deliver recommendations on how to increase vaccine uptake across the UK.

UK Vaccines Minister Nadim Zahawi is given his vaccination by Dr Nikki Kanani Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England at Lewis Grove pharmacy in Lewisham (Photo by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

‘Collaboration for change: Promoting vaccine uptake’ has been awarded £80,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19. Researchers are hoping to identify the reasons why uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine varies across communities and how to correct this disparity.

Dr Talia Isaacs, of UCL Institute of Education (IOE) joins a team from the University of Aberdeen, five community organisations based in Leicester, London, and Manchester, two patient-engagement focused small and medium size enterprises, and four additional community organisation partners based in Glasgow, Ipswich and Suffolk, London, and Rotherham.

The programme will deliver recommendations on how to increase vaccine uptake across ethnic minority groups and will set a research agenda for improving national public health messaging across local communities.   

The recommendations will be developed through a study that comprises a systematic review of international literature led by Dr Miriam Brazzelli from the University of Aberdeen. It will also incorporate research into the lived experience of community leaders who have been supporting communities throughout the pandemic. This broad-brush approach means recommendations will be both evidence-based and true-to-life led by the communities they are intended to support.

COUCH Health and Egality Ltd will provide commercial programme management and communications strategy to deliver a fast-moving programme with nationwide reach.

Professor Shaun Treweek, University of Aberdeen, said “Although the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out is generally regarded as a success, uptake is lower in some ethnic minority communities. The best way to reduce this hesitancy is to work collaboratively with people who best understand these communities.”

Dr Isaacs added: “Harnessing community organisations’ experience to refine insights from data sources and tailor recommendations to the communities they represent is essential for improving vaccine uptake and building trust in the healthcare system.”

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“Nadhim Zahawi gets vaccinated” (Photo by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)