Podcast: Vaccination Hesitancy

With the help of artists, friends and partners, Essex Cultural Diversity Project is encouraging individuals and communities across the county to get the jab and overcome “vaccination hesitation”, as part of a campaign funded by Essex County Council’s VCS COVID-19 Response Fund.

In this podcast for ECDP Radio, Storyteller and artist Seema Anand talks about the issues and shares facts about vaccinations, past and present.

Initiatives to boost the uptake of the COVID 19 jab amongst ethnic groups must continue to be a priority in the UK – these have been familiar headlines as studies reveal high levels of vaccine hesitancy amongst those most as risk.

The government’s vaccine roll out has met with mixed reactions, where communities most at risk have also been the ones most likely to turn it down.

Unfortunately, the same things that are causing the disproportionately high infection rates in these communities – things like underlying health issues, poorer socio-economic factors, lack of accessibility, lack of education etc are also the contributing factors to a more strenuous distrust and rejection of the vaccination amongst them.

Raising awareness around the necessity of the vaccine within these communities, overcoming the distrust and fear is not just important it is imperative because, as Nadeem Zahawi, minster for vaccinations says, a safe passage out of this pandemic will depend on everyone being immunised.

A large scale study by the University of Essex in collaboration with the University of Glasgow discovered that within the diverse communities the highest rate of hesitancy was expressed by the Black British community with almost 72% of the people in this group saying that they would not take the jab and the next highest were the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities with 42% refusing the vaccination and of these groups 23% of the refusals came from the over 70s sector, which included care home residents.

The main concerns were around safety and acceptability. The general feeling is that the vaccine has been approved too soon for it to really be safe, (especially after all the reports on blood clots), people want to wait and watch for the long term side effects before committing to anything because they know that if something goes wrong they will have no recourse.

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