Asian father and son chatting at a laptop

Public health messaging must be tailored to communities

In order to ensure we build confidence among the general population in the Covid-19 vaccines, calls have been made to ensure that health messaging is tailored to specific communities.

Particularly around the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, misinformation has been a significant challenge faced during the pandemic - with particular difficulty disparaging these false rumours and misunderstandings among some black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) communities.

With those from BAME backgrounds often at greater risk from Covid-19 too, though not necessarily in the highest priority groups for the vaccine as per the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation list, it’s essential accurate and clear public health messaging reaches these individuals.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), said: “GPs and our teams are working hard to vaccinate our patients from Covid-19, beginning with our most vulnerable patients, in accordance with the JCVI’s prioritisation list.

“Whilst those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are not specifically on the JCVI list, ethnicity is one of the criteria for prioritisation within each group according to guidance from NHS England.

“As such, GPs are able to use their clinical judgement within the priority list to ensure the programme meets the needs of local communities.

“We are concerned that recent reports show that people within Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are not only more likely to be adversely affected by the virus but also less likely to accept the Covid-19 vaccine, when offered it.

 “As such, where appropriate, we’re calling for public health communications to be tailored to patients in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, to reassure them about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine and ultimately encourage them to come forward for their vaccination when they are invited for it.”

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