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Agenda item

Vaccine uptake, hesitancy and inequalities


The Board considered a presentation from Sarah Rayfield (Agenda Item 6) on vaccine uptake, hesitancy and inequalities. Key points were as follows:

·         This presentation outlined the work being carried out by the Berkshire West Vaccine Inequalities Programme Board, whose aim was to reduce inequalities in vaccine uptake between different communities and those at greater risk from Covid-19

·         Specific objectives of this project were:

o   To Identify and reduce barriers to vaccine access

o   To identify and address vaccine misinformation and fears among local communities in Berkshire West

o   To identify community leaders and work within existing systems where in place, or develop Health & Wellbeing Ambassadors where required.

o   To facilitate voluntary organisations to support local communities.

o   To lay the foundations and build relationships to help address wider health inequalities beyond the vaccination programme.

·         There were four main work streams:

  • Data - Identification of gaps, evaluation of interventions and weekly reports to local authorities
  • Communications and Engagement – Identification of barriers, empowerment of key stakeholders, using a multi-channel approach. Information was gathered on people’s reasons for avoiding or getting the vaccine and these views were used to inform the communications being sent out.
  • Health and Wellbeing Ambassadors – Identification and training of key influencers;
  • Mode of Delivery – identification of alternative options such as community pharmacies, pop-up  mop-up clinics,  and the  Health on the Move Van
  • It was noted that the Health on the Move Van had been used to bring vaccines directly to different communities. It had a capacity for 120 vaccines per day, with appointments booked in advance.

o   Previous locations visited: Two Saints and Lambourn

o   Future visits:

§  12th July – Central Family Hub, Thatcham

§  13th July – Newbury College

§  Date TBC – Paices Hill

·         Next steps included:

o   Co-hosting a webinar to address questions about the vaccine

o   Engagement within local communities

o   Promotion of the vaccine amongst younger people

o   Finalising the role of Health & Wellbeing Ambassadors

o   Planning future visits for the Health on the Move Van.

Councillor Dominic Boeck asked why Paices Hill was selected as a scheduled stop for the Health on the Move van as this was not a big population centre. It was pointed out that there was a significant traveller community in that region and the hope was that the van would help improve vaccine uptake in that group.

Councillor Martha Vickers asked if councillors were involved in the identification of community leaders and potential Health Ambassadors? It was noted that the ambassadors were drawn from specific communities where there was a lower uptake of the vaccine rather than sending outside people into those communities.

Councillor Vickers asked whether the Health on the Move van would be used for other kinds of health engagement post-Covid? It was confirmed that the initial plan was just focussed on Covid, but it was possible that lessons learnt could be applied to wider health issues in the future, since the van would be available to the Council for a while.

Councillor Lynne Doherty wondered if the van could be sent to some of the areas of low uptake on a walk-in basis to reach groups who were less likely to actively engage in the vaccination programme such as areas where young people gathered. It was explained that booked appointments were used as the van had limited capacity and a walk-in system might result in people being turned away.

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