JCVI - Vaccine Communications

The Government have published their guidance on the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination.

This following is important to note:

“There is clear evidence that certain Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups have higher rates of infection, and higher rates of serious disease, morbidity and mortality. There is no strong evidence that ethnicity by itself (or genetics) is the sole explanation for observed differences in rates of severe illness and deaths. What is clear is that certain health conditions are associated with increased risk of serious disease, and these health conditions are often overrepresented in certain Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. It is also clear that societal factors, such as occupation, household size, deprivation, and access to healthcare can increase susceptibility to COVID-19 and worsen outcomes following infection. These factors are playing a large role in the inequalities being seen with COVID-19.”

And:

“Good vaccine coverage in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups will be the most important factor within a vaccine programme in reducing inequalities for this group. Prioritisation of persons with underlying health conditions (see above) will also provide for greater vaccination of BAME communities who are disproportionately affected by such health conditions. The Committee’s advice is for NHS England and Improvement, the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and the devolved administrations to work together to ensure that inequalities are identified and addressed in implementation. This could be through culturally competent and tailored communications and flexible models of delivery, aimed at ensuring everything possible is done to promote good uptake in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and in groups who may experience inequalities in access to, or engagement with, healthcare services. These tailored implementation measures should be applied across all priority groups during the vaccination programme.”

This is worth repeating:

All relevant organisations must “ensure that inequalities are identified and addressed in implementation. This could be through culturally competent and tailored communications and flexible models of delivery, aimed at ensuring everything possible is done to promote good uptake in Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and in groups who may experience inequalities in access to, or engagement with, healthcare services.”

Based on this advice from the JCVI how do we go about reminding all public authorities, civic society organisations, mutual aid groups, and so on, that all local public authorities and civic organisations will be expected to demonstrate they understand and are able to practice‘culturally competent and tailored communications,’ and that these community-focussed communications will be a priority in ensuring that no members of our communities will be left behind.

I’m sure that there are many examples of community-focussed communication around the UK that demonstrates the effectiveness of the approach to community-focussed communications, and I’m sure that there is much that we can learn from one another about how they have made a difference.

Rob