NHS COVID ‘grab-a-jab’ initiative boosts ethnic minority vaccinations

The NHS COIVD vaccination programme has protected more than 700,000 people from ethnic minority backgrounds since rolling out the grab-a-jab campaign.

An analysis of one grab-a-jab weekend in July found that 2 in 5 of the 80,000 walk-in doses administered were to people from ethnic minority groups, significantly more than the proportion in the wider community.

People have been able to turn up and ‘grab a jab’ at festivals, mosques, town halls, football grounds and other convenient sites since the campaign began earlier this summer.

The fastest growth in vaccinations was from people of mixed Asian and white backgrounds between 20th June and 22nd August, with numbers growing by a quarter from 81,000 to 101,000, closely followed by mixed white and Black African groups.

There was also a significant increase in people from Black communities getting the jab with 142,000 people receiving their first dose of the life-saving vaccine. More than 3 in 5 of those were Black African, with the number of people getting a first dose increasing by 20.9%.

Meanwhile, the increase in vaccinations among white people was 11.1%.

In all, more than 3.8 million first doses have been delivered since the NHS launched its first grab-a-jab weekend at the end of June, which is more than 400,000 a week.

England’s top GP said the figures show increasing confidence in the vaccine and greater accessibility meeting the needs of different communities.

The NHS has also been offering all 16 and 17-year-olds a single dose of the vaccine in line with updated JCVI guidance issued on 4th August and anyone in this age group can now find their nearest centre through the ‘Grab-A-Jab’ NHS online walk-in finder, with more sites becoming available every day.

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS medical director of primary care and deputy lead for the vaccination programme, said: “Increasing vaccine confidence has been at the heart of the NHS rollout and staff who know and care for their local communities are continuing to go above and beyond to set up sites that meet their patients’ needs.

“This hard work is paying off and we are protecting people that were previously reluctant to get the vaccine, building on work we have already done, such as tackling misinformation online, translating materials into more than 20 languages and working with faith and community leaders to promote the vaccine’s safety.

“The vaccine is safe, effective and could save your life, and if you have any lingering questions or concerns, please come forward and speak to a trusted healthcare professional.”

The NHS outlined its action plan to tackle vaccine hesitancy in February, which included tackling misinformation online with social media firms, translating materials into more than 20 languages, and working with faith and community leaders to promote the vaccine’s safety.

The NHS also committed early on to publishing a regular breakdown of stats among ethnic groups and worked with local systems to make the vaccine as accessible as possible such as through pop-up clinics in places of worship and extended opening hours during Ramadan for “Twilight” clinics.

The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan received the first COVID jab outside of a clinical trial in December.

In the eight months since then the largest and fastest vaccination programme in NHS history has protected more than 40 million people.

Nine in 10 adults have had at least one dose of the vaccine, with more than three quarters fully protected with both doses.

In all, more than 75 million vaccinations have been delivered by the NHS in England.

The NHS outlined its action plan to tackle vaccine hesitancy in February, inspiring uptake to treble among ethnic minorities over the following two months and eligible people continue to come forward all of the time.