PRESS RELEASE – Access to information about COVID-19 vaccine key to encouraging vaccine uptake among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities

Camden, London: One-third of people from Black, Asian, or minority ethnic backgrounds who are reluctant to take the COVID-19 vaccine would reconsider their decision if their vaccine-related concerns were addressed with accurate information from trusted resources, finds Healthwatch Camden in its latest report. Additionally, 13% would reconsider their decision if they saw a friend or family member taking the vaccine.

These are some of the findings published in the report ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic views on the COVID-19 vaccine’ which documented the views of 223 Camden residents.

Knowledge and the COVID-19 vaccine

Evidence from the findings suggest that there is a strong positive correlation between the amount of knowledge someone has around the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine uptake.

Among those who felt they had no information at all about the vaccine, the majority (four out of five) were ‘fairly unlikely’, ‘very unlikely’, or ‘not sure’ about getting the vaccine.

In contrast, among those who knew ‘a great deal’ about the vaccine, nearly three in four had already gotten one jab, were ‘very likely’ to get the vaccine, or were ‘fairly likely’ to get the vaccine.

Source of Information and the COVID-19 vaccine

Data gathered from the report showed that most people relied on multiple sources for COVID-19 vaccine information. The most popular sources of information on the COVID-19 vaccine were television (69%) and Social Media (59%), followed by information from friends, family, and peers (39%) and NHS or government website (30%).

The findings revealed a significant relationship between vaccine hesitancy and social media as a source of information. Nearly nine in ten respondents, who accessed information on the COVID-19 vaccine from their GP or local hospital, were likely to get the vaccine, as compared to only five in ten who received the information through Social Media.

Reasons behind vaccine hesitancy

The most common concerns around the vaccine were about safety (32%), potential side effects (31%), mistrust of the intentions behind the vaccine (29%), and concern over the ingredients (22%).

Additionally, almost 13% reported the cost of travelling to the vaccination sites as a hurdle to the uptake of the vaccine. In a report by Healthwatch England, travelling to a vaccine appointment was seen to be a more significant barrier for members of Black communities.

Matthew Parris, Director of Healthwatch Camden said:

“Whilst national studies have indicated that vaccine hesitancy is disproportionately higher in some Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities, this work in Camden has provided insight into the extent of this hesitancy locally and the reasons for it.

The findings highlight that a significant opportunity exists for the NHS to increase uptake in Camden, but public bodies will need to work closely with people to ensure that the diversity in information needs in communities are properly understood.”

Next Steps

Healthwatch Camden is asking the NHS and local public bodies to build upon its partnerships with voluntary, community and faith sector groups to provide more information on the COVID-19 vaccination to overcome barriers and address the common cause of concerns. 

To address the concerns identified in this report, Healthwatch Camden held a COVID-19 Vaccine Q+A Session in February 2021. The recording and transcript of this event will continue to be used and shared as a community resource to address common concerns around the COVID-19 vaccination.

More about the survey

The survey was conducted in association with three local voluntary and community organisations – Kings Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association (KCBNA), the African Health Forum, and the Santé Refugee Mental Health Access Project.

For 80% of responders, English was not their first language, and the survey was translated and conducted by representatives from local organisations before being translated back into English. This outreach method helped reached many non-English speaking and seldom heard residents.

The full report can be found here.


Notes to editors-

  • Healthwatch is an independent watchdog created to gather and represent the views of the public. Healthwatch plays a role at both national and local level to ensure that the views of people that use services are taken into account. It provides a collective voice for health and social care users in Camden.
  • Healthwatch Camden has a seat on Camden’s Health and Wellbeing Board and can alert Healthwatch England and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to concerns about services.
  • Local Healthwatch functions and powers are set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This includes the power to refer its concerns to the local Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
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