Vaccine Hesitancy Within The Somali Community

Lower vaccine uptake and increased hesitancy are currently of concern
in London, as recent data reveals the capital city to be lagging behind the
rest of England in its vaccine uptake.
These low numbers are mostly attributed to ethnic minority communities,
as their worries continue to grow regarding the safety of Covid-19 vaccines.
Alarmingly, as a result of the pandemic, BAME groups find themselves facing
the greatest health risks, with some of the highest rates of death and serious
illnesses arising among these groups. Though Somalis are embedded in
these wider BAME statistics, Covid-19 outcomes that relate to their specific
community are non-existent.
This research attempts to explore some of the reasons behind vaccine
hesitancy within the Somali community. A few worries that emerged include:
a lack of trust in healthcare systems, fear of short- and long-term side effects
and the general safety of the vaccine. Lastly, this study will highlight some
recommendations to tackle concerns regarding vaccine hesitancy in the
Somali community.

Our findings are consistent with research surrounding vaccine hesitancy in ethnic minority groups, particularly the Somali community. It is clear that long standing issues of inequality and negative experiences in the healthcare system have been further aggravated by the disproportionate number of deaths as a result of Covid-19. The lack of trust in healthcare systems also gave room for the spread of misinformation within the Somali community. According to our findings and research, an opportunity to dispel this issue is in building trust in communities that are disadvantaged, or using sources which are already trusted to them. In doing so, the rate of transmission can be controlled, and Covid-19 related deaths reduced. A recent study commissioned in May 2021, showed that 30% of Black and Black British adults remained hesitant to receive any Covid-19 vaccine – the highest reported compared to all ethnic groups. Although Covid-19 has been among us for over a year, the issue of vaccine hesitancy, remain and this pandemic is still immensely prevalent, ravaging the lives of underprivileged communities worldwide. Only recently, plans to ease lockdown were delayed as a result of the new Covid-19 variant, therefore we must deal with this as a matter of urgency, to reduce the negative outcomes of this pandemic on the Somali community.

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