With the announcement of the approval process of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Healthwatch Hillingdon began working in partnership with Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to gauge public confidence in potential COVID-19 vaccines. During the course of development, a survey was decided as the best method to engage with residents and the project was supported by North West London (NWL) CCG to be expanded to cover the 8 boroughs of the NWL CCG (Hillingdon, Harrow, Brent, Hounslow, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster).
Below you can download both the summary of the data for North West London, and the full report of responses by Hillingdon residents.
Summary of the Hillingdon Report and Recommendations
The survey saw responses that were generally in support of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, with 84% of Hillingdon responses saying they would consider being vaccinated, versus 83% across all 8 boroughs.
Looking further into the results demonstrated a clear lack of confidence in certain demographics however, with younger age groups showing higher levels of uncertainty, and responses from Black, Mixed, Asian, and Arab ethnicity residents also demonstrating increased hesitancy.
Concerns raised in the survey fell into 3 main categories: Side effects (both long and short term, including fertility), Availability and eligibility (this became more prominent from January 2021 onwards as the vaccine rollout was underway), and Efficacy (level of protection, length of time protected). General safety was also raised as a topic respondents wanted more information about.
Anonymous data from the survey was shared throughout the project with our NHS partners to raise these issues and ensure the concerns were being addressed, and our recommendations are as follows:
- Communications and engagement to be tailored to the specific demographics expressing concerns, with focus on age groups, ethnicities, and geographical areas of lower vaccine confidence.
- Ensure the key information requested by patients be provided in an inclusive manner, including information on side effects, availability and eligibility and efficacy of the vaccine.
- Social media content to be curated and moderated to ensure correct information is propagated, and damaging/incorrect responses are not.