Mar 25, 2021

Vaccine Hesitancy — thoughts before a webinar

Here are some thoughts on what I assume an upcoming webinar, that I’ve been invited to join, may cover:

How can we reduce the numbers of people who distrust vaccinations and reject their offers of jabs and how can we persuade greater numbers to volunteer to take part in Clinical Trials? How can we engender trust in minorities?

Vaccine hesitancy is not restricted to people of black or Asian extraction but the evidence shows that there is a real problem with this demographic. There are probably many social and cultural reasons for this but we must find ways to counteract this. There will be no one way to do it but it seems to me that this is a nettle that must be firmly grasped.

How? That is the 60,000 dollar question but one idea I do have is to approach it on a grand scale with more and better media coverage targeting everyone and counteracting misinformation. 

It also has to be done on a national scale divided into small local efforts to build better relations locally with the black and Asian communities. When we look at the Covid Pandemic we have seen how helpful faith leaders have been in communicating the truth to their congregations about our covid and vaccination message. Perhaps the NHS could help foster a better relationship with ethnic minorities by meeting them in their own familiar and non- threatening surroundings. This may be achieved by speaking to religious and community leaders and offering local health clinics in Mosques, Temples, Churches  and Community Centres once a week or once a month. Visits to give health advice and check -ups or blood pressure checks might be one way of doing it. 

This would hopefully help foster trust and goodwill and give minorities the confidence to

come forward when they need help and also to volunteer for clinical trials. It would give us an opening and opportunity to discuss these things with the community we want to engage with. We are blessed with many nationalities and religions in the NHS staff and it may be that they would be prepared to help with introductions etc to their local community. The teams at any clinic would be the usual diverse mix but for Mosques it would probably be women only for the ladies.  

I know this approach would have cost implications but I believe that recent experiences with vaccination hesitancy in particular shows that this is a subject that should not be ignored particularly with variations of the coronavirus popping up all over the place not to mention any new virus that may arise in the future. It would be good to think that funds would be available to trial this type of approach. 

I remember someone (before the politicians pinched it) saying that none of us are safe until we all are and this is so true. We are all in this together and should work to make sure our health service is all inclusive. I hope this doesn’t sound pompous but I think it is so important to get this right.

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