The British Medical Association is launching a social media campaign to encourage a better uptake of Covid-19 vaccinations amongst communities from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Working with a group of influential social media creators, who have developed short video posts for Instagram, it is hoped that the campaign will pass on the message that everyone who can be, needs to be vaccinated so that the risk of infection and illness reduces and life can get back to normal.
The campaign leads with the theme ‘Spread the word, not the virus’ and encourages people to get vaccinated, to look forward to a safer future and enjoy socialising with family and friends again.
Designed with positive, upbeat messages and drawing from their personal experience and hopes, the clips feature people like GP Dr Arora and activist Daniel Asaya. The BMA is supporting the social campaign with online material aimed at signposting and myth-busting about vaccinations, explanations of some of the reasons why people might be mistrustful, and many personal anecdotes from doctors from a range of different communities talking about how they are handling these kinds of discussions with family and friends.
Recent research has shown that the lowest rate of take-up of the vaccines in the over 70s is amongst black African, black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities.1 It is therefore hoped that this more informal approach will appeal to younger generations - particularly to those aged 20-40 – and will encourage this audience to share the message with elder family members and friends, who may be nervous or hesitant about having their vaccination.
Daniel Asaya says in his video: “We all want to get back to normal, to hug each other again” adding: “I wanted to be a part of this campaign to tell my friends that vaccinations are safe and that they are the key to unlocking our futures again. We’re all keen to get our lives back and this is the way it’s going to happen.”
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, said: “We have consistently led the debate about the inequalities facing those from ethnic minority communities during Covid-19. We know that, at the height of the pandemic, people from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to contract Covid-19, to become seriously ill and to tragically die from the virus.
“The pandemic exposed, exacerbated and magnified these inequalities affecting ethnic minority communities across the UK. But we also know vaccine uptake remains lower within these communities and that is why we are backing this campaign.
“We are delighted to be working with these social media creators and we are grateful to them for giving up their time. The first videos have already been viewed over 400,000 times and what we’re asking now is for people to spread the word about the benefits of vaccinations in the hope that we might all tackle some of the uneasiness and mistrust around them. We understand why people might be fearful, and we really want to help. We’re asking you to take a look at the campaign, read the materials and then make up your mind.”
Read more information on the campaign, vaccines and to read personal experiences from healthcare professionals.
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
The creators involved in the campaign include: Dr Tanaya (aka Dr Cuterus, sexual health doctor), Daniel Yomi Asaya (founder of Living Free UK), Dr Arora (GP), Alex Shebar (writer).