Covid Vaccine refusal in Reading

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Reading was commissioned by the Berkshire West Vaccination Action Group to understand why Reading has lower Covid vaccination rates than neighbouring areas particularly amongst younger, working age adults and certain ethnic minority groups.  They undertook a survey to which 163 people responded and facilitated online discussions on Facebook with 86 people.

  • 79% of survey respondents had not had any dose of a Covid vaccine
  • 68% said they hadn’t come forward for a Covid vaccine booster
  • 76% said concerns about vaccine side-effects had put them off coming forward
  • 34% said they hadn’t come forward because Covid was now a mild disease
  • 28% said they thought they were ‘covered’ by previously having been infected with Covid
  • 71% said their mind was made up about not getting vaccinated
  • 15% said more information about vaccine safety could change their mind.

Most people who took part in Facebook discussions were against vaccinations. The main points debated in online discussions were:

  • Whether it was a vaccine or a gene therapy
  • Young healthy people don’t need the vaccine
  • Getting a vaccine should be like wearing a seatbelt
  • Questioning the true number of people who have died directly from Covid

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General details

Report title 
Covid Vaccine refusal in Reading
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Reading
Date of publication 
Friday, 27 May, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 7 February, 2022
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 7 March, 2022
Key themes 
Health inequalities
Health protection
Information providing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
18-24 years
25-64 years
Asian / Asian British
Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
Other ethnic group
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.