Cheshire and Merseyside NHS is teaming up with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities to launch a campaign promoting vaccine safety.
Using insight from local research, representatives from ethnic communities will address questions about the vaccine in a series of radio adverts, posters and social media adverts planned across the local area.
Findings from the research carried out in Cheshire and Merseyside are also being shared with senior health and social care leaders, to help ensure everyone has all the facts around the vaccine and nobody gets left behind.
The research surveyed people across the region from ethnic communities to develop an in-depth understanding of their experiences of COVID-19 and their views towards the vaccination.
It found that concerns about efficacy and fear of potential side effects are among the top reasons why a third (33%) of minority ethnic communities in Cheshire and Merseyside are reluctant to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Although overall uptake of the vaccine amongst the first four priority groups is now just under 90%, the uptake is lower amongst some ethnic minority communities, which the local NHS says is a concern, given the fact that these communities are being disproportionately affected by the virus.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “The vaccination is the safest way to protect you from this virus. It was important that we understood the reasons for any reluctance to have the vaccine amongst our Black and Ethnic Minority communities in order for us to effectively address any concerns. I hope that this latest campaign provides the reassurance needed for our communities to make that appointment and get vaccinated as soon as possible. We all want our lives to get back to some kind of normality and the vaccine is one way to achieve that.”
Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, Regional Director of Commissioning for NHS England and NHS Improvement and Senior Responsible Officer for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the North West, said: “It is vital that everyone who is at a higher risk of infection has the right information and are reassured about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
“Tens of thousands of people from the Cheshire and Merseyside patch, who identify themselves as being from an ethnic minority backgrounds and are eligible, have already had one dose of the vaccine and this is really positive.
Edna Boampong, Deputy Director of Communications and Engagement at the Cheshire and Merseyside Heath and Care Partnership, and Communications Lead for Cheshire and Merseyside’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “It’s critical to understand and differentiate the concerns amongst different ethnic minority groups in relation to COVID-19 and their views on public health messaging, so now we will work hard to gain a better understanding of ethnic communities so we can ensure we’re doing everything we can to address the specific concerns people have.”
The study, which was co-funded by Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health, surveyed 636 people from across Cheshire and Merseyside.