Home » Vaccines » Engaging with BAME communities to increase vaccine uptake

David Gallier-Harris

Pharmacy Manager, Asda

Pharmacy Manager, David Gallier-Harris wanted to help reach the local Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community in a push to tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

“Our focus is to increase vaccine uptake and ensure delivery is as equitable as possible, as part of Asda’s culture engaging with local communities,” says David Gallier-Harris, who is Pharmacy Manager of Asda’s Cape Hill store in Smethick, Birmingham. He also leads the store’s vaccination hub, one of just three Asda store centres.

Wide ranging reasons for vaccine hesitancy

Back in February, reviewing the hub vaccination data, David became aware uptake was considerably lower among BAME communities than people from White ethnic backgrounds.

Wide ranging reasons have been suggested for vaccine hesitancy among BAME groups, including previous negative experiences of health services, religious acceptability and fears of being treated as experimental subjects.

“It’s really important to reach BAME populations because statistics show they have a higher mortality if infected, and to achieve herd immunity we need as many people as possible vaccinated,” explains David.

We want to build trust and ensure that vaccination is as inclusive as possible.

Making vaccination inclusive

David started by making direct contact with local faith leaders, informing them when different vaccination cohorts opened up, so they could encourage their communities to make appointments through the national booking service. David also spoke at Friday Prayer in the local mosque, where he talked about the benefits of vaccines, addressed concerns, provided educational resources in different languages, and demonstrated how to use the NHS booking service. “We want to build trust and ensure that vaccination is as inclusive as possible,” says David.

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