‘I’m not sure what’s in there’. UK ramps up efforts to target unvaccinated population

Sharna Marie said: “I haven’t been vaccinated and I’m not sure if I’ll get vaccinated. The 20-year-old from Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, has a genetic condition that has her worried about how the stabbing will affect her.

“I’m not sure what’s in it, how it was made so quickly,” she said, explaining that she was a transport sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that mostly affects people of African and Caribbean descent.

Even after all Covid restrictions in the UK were lifted last month, she said she would be in no rush to make a decision. “Maybe I’ll get it in a few years, I just want more time to evaluate.”

Ministers have hailed the national vaccination program as a great success. But as the UK enters the next phase of the pandemic, it is urgent for health and government officials to reach out to an estimated 8.5% of people aged 12 and over who are still unvaccinated.

Public health groups are trying to understand why some segments of the population are still reluctant to reach out, especially pregnant women, those under 30, and some ethnic minorities.

“I think a lot of people are worried about fertility in women and men,” says 19-year-old Kate Mitchell © Andrew Fox/FT

Since the national immunization program started in December 2020, more than 52.6 million won people in the UK, or 91.5% of the population aged 12 and over, have had at least one impact with Covid.

According to a Financial Times The UK’s vaccination campaign ranks 12th globally, in terms of the third dose administered per 100 people. A Whitehall official said: “The vaccine campaign has been a huge success but there is no room for complacency.

For mothers-to-be, the risks of remaining unvaccinated are enormous. About 98.7% of people admitted to intensive care with the coronavirus between February 1 and September 30, 2021 were unvaccinated, according to an official. data. And yet, 41.3% Women giving birth only take a single dose.

Campaigners such as Joeli Brearley, founder and chief executive officer of Preg Then Screwed, a charity that supports pregnant women, have argued that early problems with the program’s implementation led to to long-term confusion about whether or not to participate.

In December 2020, pregnant women were advised not to stab a knife, but that advice will be back to April next year. Brearley said many expectant mothers are still struggling to get clarity.

In a charity survey of nearly 4,000 pregnant women, 42 percent said talking to a medical professional made them doubt the safety of a vaccine. Others said they turned away from vaccination centers or were told to take their concerns to their GP.

Allana-May Brelsford, 23, took the test last May but said the “panic” reaction from staff when they found out she was 35 weeks pregnant with her second child prompted her to walk away. .

Ava Bennett-Evans, 18, thinks giving up her vaccine passport might keep some of her peers from getting hit © Andrew Fox/FT

“I looked at my daughter and my pregnant belly, thinking, ‘if I have to go through this, what about the potential harm to them?’,” she said, adding that she would love to get vaccinated. Please at some point.

In December, the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization, the government’s advisory body, prioritized group for jab. Dr Bola Owolabi, director of health inequality at NHS England, said “measures to boost uptake by expectant mothers” would include midwife-led pop-up centers and Vaccination appointments are for women only.

Overall, raising vaccine rates in major cities remains a challenge, health officials say. “Ours [urban] Dr Justin Varney, Birmingham’s director of public health, said:

In Britain’s second largest city, people under the age of 25 make up nearly 40 percent of the city’s 1.1 million population. “We have just over 230,000 individuals aged 18-29, but only about 130,000 have been vaccinated,” Varney said.

Younger people in Birmingham listed many reasons why their cohort did not want to participate. Kate Mitchell, 19, said: “I think a lot of people are worried about fertility in women and men. The apprentice, who has been completely affected, said social media campaigns have encouraged young people to come forward.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Ava Bennett-Evans, who is also fully vaccinated, notes that scraping her vaccine passport may have distrusted some of her peers. “Everybody has thoughts – what good is it to be teased?”

Bar graph of Age-Normalized Prevalence of those receiving their third immunization between 16 September and 31 December 2021 (%) showing the UK Muslim population still have the lowest vaccination rates of any religious faith

Usman Khan, a 19-year-old unvaccinated university student, thinks clearer health information would encourage uptake. “The way the information is presented is confusing,” he said.

Efforts to increase adoption rates in ethnic minority communities have become increasingly difficult. According to the Office for National Statistics, 40 per cent of adults in the UK who identify as black Caribbean, black African or Pakistani have been vaccinated three times by the end of 2021, compared with 68 per cent of white Britons.

Dr Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said: “One of the key issues – which has come up again and again throughout the pandemic – is the concept of trust.

Health leaders are working with community groups to better understand people’s safety concerns. Amin Tarbiat, who works at Moulana, an Iranian community group in Liverpool, helps translate medical documents and combat fake news about the joke. “The council knows that we are trusted more than the local government,” said the 63-year-old.

Damien Carmody with his pop-up vaccination clinic in London’s Chinatown © Tolga Akmen / FT

In Londonwhich lags behind the country in vaccination rates, officials have introduced the program into unvaccinated communities.

In Westminster, where only 39 percent of all those over 12 who have been hit three times, the council is using a minibus as a pop-up vaccination centre. “We provide information in different languages ​​and have emphasized the fact that we can provide undocumented objection information. [people]“Damien Carmody, head of operations for the pop-up center, said.

Some believe that the deployment of a vaccine has shown the need to rethink the interaction between health services and some communities. “What Covid – both infection rates and vaccination rates – has highlighted is how serious health disparities are,” said Dr Andrew Steeden, head of North West London.

Steeden also reiterates the importance of not just talking to people, but also collaborating with disadvantaged communities. “It’s about real co-design services of the future.”

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