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NMC says COVID-19 vaccination messages need to be more inclusive and appropriate

Nursing regulator seeks to address vaccine hesitancy among healthcare staff
Computer image of vaccine ampoule and needle with hands representing various ethnic groups

Nursing regulator seeks to address vaccine hesitancy among healthcare staff with more inclusive messages

Messages about COVID-19 vaccines need to be more inclusive and appropriate to help reduce vaccination hesitancy among healthcare workers, says the nursing regulator.

The comment by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) comes after a study covering 11,584 UK clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers found that 23% (2,704) reported doubts about having the jab.

This nervousness was even more pronounced

Nursing regulator seeks to address vaccine hesitancy among healthcare staff with more inclusive messages

NMC says messages about COVID-19 vaccines need to be more inclusive and appropriate
Picture: iStock

Messages about COVID-19 vaccines need to be more inclusive and appropriate to help reduce vaccination hesitancy among healthcare workers, says the nursing regulator.

The comment by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) comes after a study covering 11,584 UK clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers found that 23% (2,704) reported doubts about having the jab.

This nervousness was even more pronounced among the 2,300 nurses, nursing assistants and midwives in the study, with more than one quarter of this group, or 28% (648), saying they were hesitant.

Reasons for hesitancy include concerns over safety and lack of ethnic diversity in vaccine development studies

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe
Andrea Sutcliffe

Healthcare staff from ethnic minority backgrounds were also more likely to have doubts compared with white British health and social care workers.

Participants’ reasons for vaccine hesitancy included concerns over vaccines’ safety in view of the speed at which they were developed and the lack of ethnic diversity in vaccine development studies.

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said it was critical to recognise and address the reasons preventing people of ethnic minority backgrounds from having a vaccination and to take action by using more appropriate inclusive communications.

She said: ‘We know the COVID-19 vaccine helps to keep us safe from this awful virus, as well as protecting the people we care for. These findings are another important step to help us understand what we all need to do to support professionals, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds, to take up the vaccine.’

Table showing responses on vaccine hesitancy from a selection of ethnic groups in the study

Ethnicity/Total Not hesitant Hesitant Did not answer
White British 6,907 78% (5,365) 21% (1,452) 1% (90)
Asian Pakistani 315 68% (215) 30% (94) 2% (6)
Black African 349 60% (210) 34% (120) 6% (19)
Black Caribbean 102 43% (44) 51% (52) 6% (6)

The UK-Reach study was led by researchers from the University of Leicester, University College London (UCL) and the University of Nottingham and was carried out between December 2020 and March 2021.

Professionals from health, social care and the private sector were asked to take part via social media, their workplaces and regulatory bodies, including the NMC, which had 724,516 nursing and midwifery registrants as of 30 September 2020.

UCL associate professor in medical education and joint author of the study Katherine Woolf said strategies including inclusive and non-stigmatising communication within trusted networks were needed to build trust and dispel myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly in communities with greatest levels of hesitancy.

Find out more

Results from the UK-REACH prospective nationwide cohort study: Ethnic differences in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine hesitancy in United Kingdom healthcare workers


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