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Rapid Community Engagement To Investigate Vaccine Hesitancy In Salford

Background
Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy poses a significant public health risk. As of December 2021 Salford had one of the highest levels of Coronavirus cases within Greater Manchester and the vaccination rate was lower than the national average. Local data showed that almost 30% of people over the age of 16 were yet to have their first or second jab.

Objectives
The objective of this project was to understand the perceptions of individuals who had not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine.

Methods
I visited Salford to conduct impromptu interviews with local business owners in two neighbourhoods, one predominantly white neighbourhood and the other predominantly orthodox Jewish neighbourhood. This method was chosen as the research had to be conducted rapidly before the Christmas period. It was assumed that local business owners would have an impression of the local sentiment towards the vaccine.

Results
There were many factors that influenced vaccine hesitancy in Salford. We found that there were well-known local examples of people who had an adverse reaction to the vaccine which discouraged people from getting vaccinated. Many people were also concerned about potential side effects including the false perception that the vaccine could cause a miscarriage or infertility. Some people underestimated the severity of Covid-19 and thought it was similar to a mild flu.

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