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  • 1 January 2022 to 30 September 2022
  • Project No: 571
  • Funding round: FR3

Research has shown that people from ethnic minority backgrounds may suffer poor health in comparison to White people in similar circumstances as a result of a number of complex social, economic and biological factors. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic highlighted that people from ethnic minority backgrounds have a greater risk of dying from Covid-19 than people of White ethnicity but are less likely to accept the Covid-19 vaccine. People of Black ethnic backgrounds are particularly affected. For example, in England amongst people over 50 years of age, 94% of White people have been vaccinated compared to only 72% of Black people (based on numbers collected by the National Health Service (NHS) up to the 15th September 2021 ). We also know that there is a lower uptake of the seasonal flu vaccine in some ethnic minority groups.

Covid-19 booster vaccines are being offered to people aged 50 and over, health and social care workers and younger people at risk, as well as flu vaccines, and it may help vaccine campaigns to be more effective if can we understand people’s opinions about the Covid-19 vaccine, as well as vaccines for other infections. We know that fewer people from ethnic minority backgrounds are included in vaccine-related research and trials, and this may be one of the reasons why some people are worried about vaccinations.

What are we aiming to find out?
We are aiming to find out more about the concerns of ethnic minority groups relating to the Covid-19 vaccine. We are focusing particularly on the views of African, Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi people. This is because there are differences in the number of people from each of these groups who have received the Covid-19 vaccine, and talking to people from these groups will help us to understand why. Focusing on four groups will also mean that we can talk to as many people as possible from each group within the time and budget of the study.

We will talk to people who have concerns about the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine or have in the past had concerns. Having had the vaccine will not exclude people from the study. We will talk about how they have made their decision about having the vaccine, and what factors influenced them, particularly if they changed their mind. We will ask people about their views towards vaccines against other respiratory viruses (including seasonal flu) and how this compares with views towards the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. We will ask people how public health campaigns and government messaging could be improved to support people from ethnic minority groups to make decisions about SARS-CoV-2 vaccination.

How will we do the study?
We will contact community groups and ask them to share information about their study with their networks. People who are interested in taking part will be contacted by telephone by the lead researcher and given more information about the study over the phone and in writing. They will have time to think about whether they want to continue with the study and asked to sign a written consent form. Once consent is obtained people will be asked to complete a a anonymous questionnaire telling us more about their personal characteristics (including age, gender and how they define their ethnicity). This is so that we can ensure we have a diverse group of people and explore the views of people with different characteristics.

Everyone who agrees to take part will be offered an online focus group using Microsoft Teams or a telephone interview. Interpreters will be available. The lead researcher will conduct the focus groups and interviews by asking questions which reflect the aims of the study listed above. Focus groups and interviews will last about one hour and will be audio-recorded. Written transcripts of the audio recordings will be produced by a professional transcriber and identities of everyone who has taken part will be anonymised. The transcripts will be read by the lead researcher and members of the research team. Key ideas will be highlighted and grouped together into categories (themes) so that the research team can summarise the discussions clearly.

A written report will be produced giving a summary of the characteristics of people who took part, themes from the discussions and recommendations for future research and vaccine campaigns. The report will be shared with healthcare workers and local councils so that they can use the information to support people from ethnic minority groups make decisions about having the Covid-19 vaccine. The information will also be shared at workshops with community groups supporting Black and Asian communities. A research paper will be published in a scientific journal which will add to existing research and advance the field of primary care and population health research. The findings will also inform other research being carried out by SP and the Co-Is and a future programme of research on addressing inequalities experienced by ethnic minority groups.

Amount awarded: £5,133

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.