Last reviewed 15 February 2021

A new Covid-19 vaccination uptake plan sets out how the Government and NHS England are partnering with directors of public health, charities and the faith sector to increase vaccine take up and ensure equal access.

So far, the vaccination programme has exceeded expectation, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has pointed out, with 93% uptake in those over 75 years of age, whereas comparable vaccine programmes achieved a 75% rate.

The plan, which can be found at GOV.UK, highlights work being done at a local and national level to make sure specific groups can access the information and advice they need to make a decision on taking up the vaccination.

Building on work already underway to reach more hesitant audiences, which includes translating vaccine resources in over 13 languages, the plan aims to raise awareness of how the NHS is making vaccination accessible to all, especially ethnic minorities, homeless people, asylum seekers and those with disabilities.

The plan highlights successful initiatives including vaccination buses, WhatsApp groups and charity engagement.

Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Each shot in the arm brings us closer to beating this terrible virus. That’s why we are setting out our plan to make sure everyone is protected equally, by working hand in hand with those who know their communities best to make sure as many people as possible take up the offer of a lifesaving vaccination”.

The latest plan sets out “best-in-class real-world” examples of community-led engagement to improve vaccine uptake that other local areas could replicate to drive uptake in their areas, he explained.

Special mentions

The following are among the initiatives highlighted by Mr Zahawi.

  • The GP Federation Alliance for Better Care which has launched a mobile vaccination service in Crawley, staffed by members of the community, to reach those who are housebound or less physically mobile.

  • The OneSlough Partnership which has trained vaccine community champions and produced social media resources to dispel vaccine myths and boost vaccine uptake within their communities.

  • Bradford Council and the Race Equality Network which have built on established groups and events such virtual women’s exercise classes and befriender services as a forum to ask questions and share information about vaccination.