New community health champions in Reading will be better equipped to discuss vaccine confidence with local people after we gathered evidence on people’s concerns.
The top priority will be to answer people’s queries about vaccine safety, according to findings of our survey and facilitated online discussions.
Local NHS commissioners asked Healthwatch Reading in January 2022 to independently run a quick engagement project with younger adults who hadn’t yet come forward for their main Covid vaccine doses or booster. This was as a result of our constructive relationship with health commissioners, whose work we seek to influence to ensure they take account of the views and experiences of Reading people.
TOP THREE VACCINE CONCERNS
1. What is the risk of serious side-effects after the jab?
2. Do we really need a vaccine now that Covid is 'mild'?
3. Isn't my body immune because I've already had Covid?
Issues identified by respondents in a Healthwatch Reading online poll in February and March 2022.
The majority of people answering our online poll were aged 18-49, who have lower vaccination rates in Reading than the national average.
Our findings will inform the work of community health champions about to start a six-month project in Reading. Our town is one of 60 areas to win government funding to run targeted vaccination outreach.
The champions will be trusted and known community representatives who will work to dispel misinformation and boost vaccine confidence among:
- Minority ethnic people, including Chinese, Black or Black African and Asian/Asian British Pakistani groups
- Younger adults
- People living in areas of deprivation
- Vulnerable groups such as people who are homeless or asylum seekers or refugees.
Q&A evening sessions will also be held by local health professionals and pop up vaccine clinics will visit popular locations.