COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

There’s no doubt that vaccination offers the UK the best exit strategy from the ongoing pandemic. A large portion of the population are still rightly concerned, however. There’s fear about potential side effects, and a concern that the speed of development may have compromised safety.

 

How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Rest assured that the vaccines approved for use in the UK have undergone strict procedures set by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to ensure that the vaccine meets applicable standards of safety, quality, and efficacy. The MHRA follows the international standard of safety by testing each vaccine through all the clinical trials and safety checks.

To find out about the three coronavirus vaccines currently approved in the UK by MHRA, visit:

    – GOV.UK: Oxford/AstraZeneca

    – GOV.UK: Pfizer/BioNTech

    – GOV.UK: Moderna

What are the potential side effects? 

28.9 million have already their first dose of the vaccine as March 26th 2021, which is well on course to meet the target of 32 million receiving their first dose by 15 April, set by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. So far, there have been no reports of long-term complications and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare.

The more common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild however and typically only last for a few days; this is your body responding to the vaccine.

 

Vaccine Hesitancy

Despite the potential side effects being known, there are still worrying concerns regarding the vaccine. Vaccine hesitancy isn’t new – this is when people believe a vaccine is unnecessary, unsafe, or ineffective (and perhaps all three). Some are reluctant to take the vaccine, or avoid it completely altogether. The fact that you may not catch the virus if you break social distancing rules and even if you do get it, the illness is mild anyway, has caused some to not take it seriously. However, it is still so important we try and control the spreading as much as possible, so we don’t pass it onto those who are vulnerable.

Do we want to be vaccinated?

A study conducted by the University of Oxford surveyed 5,114 representative participants asking about an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Promising results were shown as 72% of the population were willing to be vaccinated, with the remaining either unsure or hesitant. Despite this, vaccine hesitancy appears to be prevalent among almost a third of the population. This could be because of poor NHS experiences, discontentment with institutions, and even vaccination conspiracy ideas.

Another survey performed by the Royal College of General Practitioners showed that people of Asian, Black and mixed ethnic backgrounds are 36%, 53% and 67% respectively less likely to be vaccinated when compared to their white counterparts. Of course, they wouldn’t be ill-informed about the severity of the vaccine, but vaccine hesitancy in these ethnic minorities remains disproportionately high. Public health professionals must make it a priority to engage with these ethnic groups to increase their understanding of the vaccine and encourage them to get vaccinated.

If you’d like a more thorough understanding of what to expect from the vaccine in your own language, vaccination leaflets can be downloaded from the NHS England publications site, or using the site below:

https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/translated-information

Can I get the vaccine earlier if I am a carer?

A carer is anyone who provides unpaid care for a family member, partner or friend because of any illnesses or disabilities. If you have been receiving Carer’s Allowance for a while, or have a carer’s flag on your GP record, you are on a higher priority list to take the vaccine. You can either wait to be notified via letter to take your vaccine, or you can book a vaccination appointment if you are a main carer of someone at high risk of coronavirus.  

Feel free to contact Harrow Carers at 020 8868 5224 if you’re unsure whether you are able to book your vaccination appointment, or have any other concerns.

 

Each of us has a responsibility to get vaccinated whenever possible; it’s important for your health, the health of your family and the health of the country. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s important that we’re exposing ourselves to information we can trust. Public health experts should be up and down the country, presenting the right information, listening to the concerns of others and responding transparently. We can also do our part to counter, and limit the spread of, vaccine misinformation.

The 2021 Census and Its Relation to Carers

The 2021 Census and Its Relation to Carers

What is the census? 

The census is a survey that provides a detailed picture of all the households in England and Wales – everything from your ethnicity and age to employment and religion.

It happens every 10 years, with the next census taking place on Sunday 21 March 2021. 

Each household will receive a letter on that day containing a unique 16-character access code. Individuals can then fill out the form online, via their phones, laptops or computers by visiting census.gov.uk.

You are encouraged to fill the form online, but you can request a paper copy by visiting the official census website.

If you do not receive a letter on 21 March, contact 0800 141 2021. If you need any help filling out the census, contact Harrow Carers at 0208 868 5224.

 

Failure to complete the census may result in a £1000 fine

The census only needs to be filled by one member of the household on 21 March 2021 or as soon as possible after. Failing to do so, a field officer will visit the house to encourage residents to fill it in. Those who still do not take part, or give false information, will face a fine up to £1000.

The census as a whole is compulsory, but questions on sexual orientation and religion are voluntary.

 

Identifying as a Carer

It’s important for you to let the census know you are a carer. More than half (54%) of carers took over a year to recognise that they are a carer, with nearly one in four carers taking 5 years to identify as a carer. 

If you are someone who is providing unpaid care for someone who has any illnesses or disabilities, whether that be routinely helping out with the shopping or medication, then you are a carer. 

The government can use this information to plan and fund local services to aid you. We at Harrow Carers will also receive this data, allowing us to make decisions on how to better our services and support your needs.

By identifying as a carer, Harrow Carers can help you prioritise your own physical and mental health. We’ll also point you in the right direction to any financial and practical support that you’re entitled to.

 

One question about carers

There’s one question about carers in the 2021 census. 

You’ll be asked:

“Do you look after, or give any help or support to, anyone because they have long-term physical or mental health conditions or illnesses, or problems related to old age?”

You can either choose “No” or “Yes”, and then select how many hours you care during a week if you choose “Yes”. This ranges from 9 hours to 50+. If you identify yourself as an unpaid carer, be sure to select “Yes” for Question 24.

 

How can the census help carers?

The data obtained from the census can help carers’ organisations to make better informed decisions and improve their services to best suit your needs.

The census will provide information about carers and their situation, including:

  • How many carers there are currently in the UK
  • The gender breakdown of carers
  • Population density of carers across the UK
  • Age range of carers and how this differs across each area
  • The 2021 census will also ask, for the first time, questions about sexual orientation to help identify LGBT carers. These questions are voluntary, so individuals do not need to answer these if they do not want to.

 

If you need any help filling out the census, feel free to contact us at 0208 868 5224.