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Overcoming vaccine hesitancy in our diverse communities

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Communities, coronavirus

BAME doctors with covid-19 vaccination kits

Making sense of the issues

According to a recent polling study, 72 percent of black people in the UK are hesitant about taking the COVID-19 jab. This is personal to me: I’ve just had my vaccination.

As a family, we’ve had many heated debates about it - particularly aimed at me and my mum for getting it done. It’s a common worry among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals and communities, whom I hope will recognise my family’s split loyalties.

There’s a whole range of reasons for the fear and hesitancy BAME communities feel about vaccinations, but there are two main issues overall...

The first is misinformation, which I think is fueling the anti-vacs movement. Second: a genuine concern about any given vaccine, its safety, and the extent to which it is being deployed in BAME interests. It is on this latter point where I particularly see hesitancy among family, friends and professionals.

At this critical time, I believe leaders should be listening to those communities living with these dilemmas and struggling to make sense of them. It’s especially important when we consider the fallout from the pandemic risks a significant deterioration in relations between government, citizens and communities as a whole.

BAME crowd wearing covid masks
The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on people from BAME communities.

Proving a positive reality

I want to help break down the hesitation to taking the vaccine within communities like mine. That's why I've written this blog and produced this short video clip showing how quick and straightforward the vaccination is.

As a society we need an urgent conversation. The pandemic, from my experience, has further exposed some brutal truths with its disproportionate impact on people from BAME communities which, in my view, has eroded trust in governments, professionals, science, and in each other. We need to reset and we need it now.

I want to encourage more openness in our discussions around inequality, intersectionality and communication so that we can speak uncomfortable truths, particularly to those in power, even if it feels like an emotional roller coaster. By making time for community engagement we can build trust among BAME communities and this would be a start to raising the number of black people taking the vaccine.

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  1. Comment by Andy Boothman posted on

    Why does the mainstream media, government, twitter, youtube, facebook etc ban, delete, supress and de-platform anything contrary to the official narrative? Why are Doctors, epidemiologists, nurses, scientists who dare question the Pandemic and the rushed roll out of these vaccines silenced? Why is the official version so fragile that it cannot withstand any calm logical debate? People should be able to evaluate benefits and risks of any medicine before they take it, not after, if the risks are hidden then it is not possible. Labelling anybody with logical questions as part of the 'misinformation' just shuts down debate and is very unhealthy. Governments and pharmaceutical companies have a documented history of being wrong on these matters, think thalidomide and Vioxx to name just two from a very long list. It is highly illogical to assume these vaccines are safe just because government says they are - hence healthy debate and calm logical discussion should be encouraged and those with genuine questions should not be vilified.

    • Replies to Andy Boothman>

      Comment by J posted on

      Rational discussion is fine. Rationality goes out of the window when suggestions of the vaccine containing microchips etc come into the discourse.

      The vaccine is safe. Millions of people have now received it, and this isn’t the regulators’ first rodeo.

      No-one’s shutting down legitimate debate - that’s happening in the scientific communities, but a-scientific takes perpetuated by people who don’t even have a GCSE in biology don’t need to be considered valid. Sadly, there’s no vaccine for ignorance...

  2. Comment by Santokh Ghai posted on

    I was given the 1st dose of Pfizer vaccine that was already in a syringe when I arrived at the table. It further took a few minutes for the person (who was going to inject) to check my credentials (if I had had vaccine already, had Covid in the past etc) for eligibility.
    I believe the very small quantity of the vaccine left in the syringe would have acquired the temperature of the room in which I was waiting for the vaccine to be injected. I understand this vaccine needs to be at a very low temperature for it to be effective. I had had no side effect on the local site or systemically.
    I wonder if the vaccine had already got deactivated before it was injected. How would I know if any antibodies have formed or not. Any advice/suggestion.
    Does the vaccination centre need to change its practice. The centre is in a predominantly Minority ethnic area. If this practice is ineffective, no wonder the recipients of the vaccine would be left at risk and then be blamed to be not following the Covid guidelines

    • Replies to Santokh Ghai>

      Comment by sharon posted on

      At the time of writing it is known that Comirnaty® (Pfizer/BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine may be
      stored for up to 120 hours at temperatures between +2 OC and +8 OC, followed by an additional 2 hours at room temperature.
      After dilution it should be used as soon as practically possible and within 6 hours.
      See Management of Comirnaty® (Pfizer/BioNTech) COVID-19 Vaccine
      Guidance at Local Hubs. V3 18.1.21