Summary of report content
Studies have demonstrated that being vaccinated against coronavirus (Covid-19) significantly reduces the risk of infection, serious illness, and the need for hospitalisation. Although acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the England is high overall, distrust and misinformation may cause hesitancy and refusal. Healthwatch Oxfordshire carried out two surveys to explore local people’s attitudes towards and experiences of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The aim was to share what we heard so that local services and policymakers can improve the vaccination programme.
- Survey on Covid-19 vaccination with questions on opinions of the vaccination programme, factors behind decisions whether to have the vaccine, and potential barriers to access (26 January to 30March 2021: n=512).2.
- Survey of people who received the Covid-19 vaccine at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford (02 February to 30 March 2021: n=104).
Overall, respondents were very positive about the benefits of vaccines in general and were in favour of the Covid-19 vaccine, but it is important to note that most people who took part in the surveys were older, white British, a demographic generally known to be supportive of the vaccination programme. However, some people refused or were hesitant to accept the vaccine. Reasons for this included distrust in the vaccine or the process of approving it, uncertainty about safety or efficacy, and fear of the possible side-effects. Concerns persisted when people could not find adequate information or answers. Other barriers included difficulties in reaching a vaccination centre often because of long distances, poor transport links, or a reluctance to use public transport.
Feedback from people who had already received a vaccine at a vaccination centre was overwhelmingly positive. However, several respondents were concerned about the number people inside the vaccination centres, making it impossible to maintain social distancing.
- Communicate clear, understandable information about the safety of the vaccines and any potential effects on people’s health to all communities in Oxfordshire.
- A dedicated Helpline or contact for specific questions or concerns would be especially helpful for people who are hesitant about the vaccine or have underlying health conditions or serious allergies.
- Provide clear, unambiguous messaging about risk reduction practices and ensure that policy decisions are transparent and applied across the board.
- Ensure that vaccine centres are accessible to all communities, with a focus on rural areas and reducing travel times, especially on public transport.
- Address concerns of ‘overcrowding’ at some vaccination centres.