Reducing health inequalities in vaccine uptake

In recognition of the differences in uptake among different population groups, NHS England and NHS Improvement partnered with the Strategy Unit, NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, to collect examples of initiatives to increase vaccine uptake in these groups, and reduce health inequalities.

Case studies across four key themes are available below:

  • Place of residence. This term refers to a broad range of settings and circumstances relevant to the type of dwelling or environment within which an individual resides. We found examples concerning type of dwelling (specifically, individuals who have been incarcerated within the criminal justice system), as well as lack of dwelling (people experiencing homelessness, and migrants and asylum seekers).
  • Ethnicity. Initiatives which aim to engage people and communities who identify as being from minority ethnic backgrounds. Our research identified initiatives relevant to Black Caribbean and Black African communities, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Somali, and other minority ethnic communities.
  • Faith communities. This category refers to the networks and communities formed around shared religious beliefs and affiliation. Our examples identify initiatives relevant to several different faith groups, including Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh communities.
  • Health status. Health status refers to individuals or groups of individuals who may be at an elevated risk of adverse COVID-19 related health outcomes, due to a pre-existing health condition or disability. Our research includes examples targeting people with learning disabilities, autism, Down’s syndrome, chronic kidney disease and primary ciliary dyskinesia.

The initiatives identified are described using two broad categories:

  • Information and education. A broad range of initiatives that used information and education provision to address COVID-19 vaccine uptake were identified. For example, many initiatives included the use of multimedia tools or platforms to disseminate vaccine education and information materials (such as remote information sessions or webinars), and/or translated relevant materials into different languages.
  • Outreach. Wide ranging approaches to making the vaccine more accessible to people and communities were also found, this included pop-up vaccine clinics in a variety of community-based settings, mobile clinics, telephone calls with the aim of booking people for their vaccine and provision of transport to a vaccination site.

An example for each theme/category is below. To read all of the case studies and a summary of each theme including key learnings from the evidence collection, visit the Strategy Unit website.

Open letter from NHS, charity and community leaders to people with a weakened immune system

NHS, charity and community leaders have urged people with a weakened immune system (for example due to a health condition or medical treatment) to get all the doses of the COVID-19 vaccines they need.

In line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommendations, the NHS has been inviting immunosuppressed people aged 12 and over to get a Spring booster for maximum protection.

An open letter, signed by more than 40 charity and community groups including National Voices and Macmillan, reminds those eligible what is available and explains how they can book an appointment online, by calling 119 or finding a convenient local walk-in site.

Bridging the uptake gap – COVID-19 toolkit for engaging Black African and Black African Caribbean communities

The new Bridging the Uptake Gap Toolkit, developed by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Caribbean and African Network, supports local teams to maximise COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the Black African and Black African Caribbean population by raising vaccination confidence and removing barriers. Bringing together professional experience and good practise from frontline teams into six components to guide the planning, promotion and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Toolkit can also be tailored to reflect the issues and circumstances specific to your locality to help you do more of what the evidence shows works well.

Further information, case studies and a webinar to support the toolkit is available on the COVID-19 Vaccine Equalities Connect and Exchange Hub. Please note that you need to log into the Hub to access these resources.

Community pharmacy toolkit: Delivering an open access vaccination clinic

The new toolkit provides guidance and resources to help pharmacy teams to deliver open access COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinics this winter. Developed jointly by Doctors of the World (DOTW), the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and NHS England and NHS Improvement, it will help community pharmacies ensure winter vaccines are accessible to everyone. Including thousands of carers and people from vulnerable groups, who often face barriers when accessing “mainstream” healthcare, resulting in poor health outcomes. For example, people who might not have an NHS number, refugees, asylum seekers and people who are experiencing homelessness.

Supporting COVID-19 vaccine uptake during Ramadan

This toolkit is to support staff and volunteers to support the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine amongst Muslim communities during the month of Ramadan. It includes information and assets to help build confidence and reduce any barriers to access.