Low up-take of the COVID-19 vaccine among members of the black and minority ethnic (BAME) community is a national issue. A problem exacerbated by the fact that BAME people are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
The problem has led to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to release a series of videos in various languages appealing to the BAME community to get the vaccine when offered it.
Medical director Deepak Dwarakanath said: “The vaccine is safe. We are very confident about that.
“But we know there is a lot of nonsense out there, pure lies and unfounded myths. Also, there are some cultural hurdles such as language and tradition that need to be cleared.
“Recording these appeals for social media, that can be easily shared or shown to family members on the phone, is a quick and easy way to reach people in different communities.”
The stars of the videos are members of the Trust’s pharmacy and medical teams whose expertise and language skills aim to break down barriers and directly explain that the vaccine is safe.
Associate chief pharmacist for operations Umair Hamid said: “I did my video in English because I think it’s really important than members of the local Asian community do their bit to protect their families and themselves from the virus.
“We’ve administered around 7,000 vaccines already and really hope that this will protect people we work with and care for.”
Appeal to our local Chinese community
Pharmacist Esther Cheung also recorded an appeal. Originally from Hong Kong, the 24-year-old pharmacist recorded a message in Cantonese.
Esther commented: “The message I want to get out to the local Chinese community is that the vaccine is safe and effective.”
The pharmacy team also recorded videos in Arabic and Mandarin:
The Trust is also appealing for members of the BAME community to record and share their own social media videos encouraging their peers to get the vaccine when offered.
The Trust requests the public to share the videos (which will be available on our social media feeds) and directly show them to people within their households or support bubbles who would directly benefit from seeing the messages.