Your views

How can nurses help allay fears about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine hesitancy and the spread of misinformation can be barriers to vaccine uptake

Evidence-based coronavirus vaccine information is a vital public health tool for nurses

Despite millions of the most vulnerable people in the UK having had the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine hesitancy persists among some members of the public and nursing staff, and misinformation flourishes online. How do we counter this?

Nursing Standard readers have their say.

Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

All too often people adopt a position because others they relate to have the same opinion, but have not actually done their own research or reading.

I dont mind people having informed opinions

Evidence-based coronavirus vaccine information is a vital public health tool for nurses

The spread of misinformation about vaccines is feeding an element of public mistrust Picture: iStock

Despite millions of the most vulnerable people in the UK having had the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine hesitancy persists among some members of the public and nursing staff, and misinformation flourishes online. How do we counter this?

Nursing Standard readers have their say.


Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

All too often people adopt a position because others they relate to have the same opinion, but have not actually done their own research or reading.

I don’t mind people having informed opinions because they have done their own reading using peer reviewed academic research, even if I disagree with their choice, because this is a great foundation to start having discussions about the evidence.

Engaging staff, while being non-judgemental, will educate and develop knowledge and awareness that may positively shift the attitudes of those more hesitant, and accurate information will be disseminated through our networks.


Sherene Gayle is a third-year adult nursing student at Middlesex University

All registered healthcare professionals should use evidence-based knowledge to inform patients in a responsible way about the vaccination programme.

I can’t have the vaccine due to my high risk of allergic reaction. However, I have heard some students voice concerns about vaccine safety, such as a risk to fertility, for which there is no evidence.

This is why people need accurate information about the risks and benefits of vaccination to make an informed choice.

Religious and community leaders must give accurate scientific information about the vaccine to BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities, responding to culturally sensitive concerns.

COVID-19 does not discriminate, so knowledge and awareness can save lives.


Francis Fernando is a head of nursing at a London NHS trust and founding director of the Filipino Nurses Association UK @fernandof1974

Nurses are at the forefront of the fight against this pandemic, so getting ourselves vaccinated sends a strong message to the public that this is the best defence against COVID-19.

Sharing information about the vaccine, its potential side effects and the robust process that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has taken to approve its use, can also help allay people’s fears.

People can then make an informed choice.

It is important that nurses have these conversations when they encounter fear or misinformation about the vaccine, especially in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, where take-up is lowest.


Danny Shilling is a second-year nursing student at Birmingham City University @STNDanny

Since becoming a nursing student, my family and friends often look to me for information on health and well-being – my voice and opinion is powerful.

Because of this, I feel a responsibility to guide people through the science available.

I have found having frank conversations helps me to understand people’s opinions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination.

I hope to combat misinformation by sharing and discussing accurate information from current and credibly-sourced, evidence-based research.

It is important to challenge those spreading misinformation about the vaccination, but it needs to be done in a professional manner.


Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only


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