The NHS in England has seen a huge jump in the number of people coming forward for a COVID jab since launching its plan to tackle vaccine hesitancy.
There has been an increase of more than a fifth among adults under 45 who would definitely get their vaccine according to a new study, which surveyed 16,610 people from a nationally representative sample. 63% would definitely get the jab, with a further 21% likely to accept.
Anyone aged 30 and above can now get their life-saving vaccine with more than half of people in their thirties already jabbed.
Confidence in the jab has grown among both men and women under 45, by 17% and 27% respectively, according to the new analysis produced by ORB International and the Vaccine Confidence Project.
More people from a range of ethnic and religious groups also intend to say yes to protection from the virus, with an increase of 21% in Muslims and 18% in Christians who would definitely get the jab.
Vaccine uptake more than tripled among Black British and Asian communities between February and April and the Vaccine Confidence Project’s data suggests this trend will continue for younger age groups with 6% and 24% increases respectively in those who intend to get the jab.
Comedian Sir Lenny Henry and Great British Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain, have featured in NHS campaigns to boost uptake, which have led to the increase with more than 9 in ten of those eligible getting their first jab.
GP and NHS national medical director for primary care, Dr Nikki Kanani, said: “Tackling vaccine hesitancy has been at the heart of the NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in NHS history, which has so far delivered more than 55 million doses across England.
“Since the NHS launched its action plan to encourage uptake in February, it has reached people from all communities and backgrounds through a combination of dedicated NHS teams who know and understand their communities, targeted engagement with faith leaders, pop-up clinics in places of worship, sports stadiums and local community centres, as well as strong, vocal backing from high profile voices like comedian Lenny Henry and TV star Adil Ray.
“The vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, and it’s vital that everyone gets both first and second doses in order to get full protection against coronavirus – so when you are invited, please do not hesitate to book in and do what you can to protect yourself, your families and your communities from COVID.”
The vaccine increase among Muslim communities is particularly significant and reflects the work the NHS has done within this community, working with East London GP Dr Farzana Hussain who rang all her patients yet to get the vaccine, using pop-up clinics, and jabbing in dozens of Mosques across England as part of the more than 130 places of worship the NHS is using as a vaccine site.
Dr Alex de Figueiredo, Principal Investigator and Research Fellow, at the Vaccine Confidence Project said: “We have been monitoring the public’s views towards COVID-19 in the UK since before the vaccine rollout began.
“Although pockets of sub-optimal intent to vaccinate remain in large urban settings, these data suggest large overall increases in intent to accept the vaccine across all socio-demographic groups, reflecting increases in perceptions towards the NHS immunisation programme.”
The NHS has also campaigned to show that there were no issues taking the vaccine during Ramadan and set up more than 45 “Twilight” sites to ensure the vaccine was accessible to everyone who was eligible.
Dr Farzana Hussain, GP at The Project Surgery, said: “The increasing vaccine uptake among various ethnic and religious communities is no happy accident – it is fantastic to see the hard work of colleagues rewarded.
“This is a direct result of the work NHS teams have done with local communities and the data highlights that efforts such as those around Ramadan have not gone to waste, with more and more Muslims – as well as other previously hesitant groups – increasingly convinced that the vaccine is the right decision.”
Local NHS teams have been working closely with their communities, engaging with local leaders, translating materials into more than 20 languages and tackling misinformation on social media, to ensure everyone feels confident in getting the jab.
The latest analysis shows an 18% increase in under 45s from ethnic minority communities who are open to getting the vaccine as a result, including a 9% reduction in the proportion of Black people who would turn down the offer.
Insight suggests Black people are among those increasingly likely to get their information online which is why the NHS has focussed efforts on online campaigns such as “A Letter to Loved Ones” starring Lenny Henry and other famous faces to reach audiences.
- The data in this release was produced by ORB International and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Vaccine Confidence Project.
- A total of 17,002 adults were surveyed online between 27 September and 14 October 2020
- A total of 16,610 adults were surveyed online between 9 and 27 April 2021. Respondent quotas were set to match UK national demographic counts by sex, age, and sub-national region.