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London-wide event aims to save lives by tackling Covid vaccine myths

Westminster City Council is hosting a London-wide event about Covid-19 vaccination

Published: 29 January 2021

Westminster City Council is hosting a London-wide event about Covid-19 vaccination in a bid to tackle vaccine hesitancy, particularly amongst the BAME community, and dispel the myths peddled by dangerous and untrue anti-vaccination propaganda and misinformation.

Research shows that whilst eight out of ten white Londoners say that they are likely to get the vaccine (76%), only 52% of Asian Londoners and 32% of black Londoners said they would get the vaccine.[1]

The event, taking place on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 and led by a panel health professionals, faith group leaders and leading members of BAME community, will allow Londoners to have an open and honest discussion about any concerns or fears they have that is may prevent them from being vaccinated.

Anti-vaccination propaganda and rumour is a contributing factor to the low uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine within some local community groups, along with deep-rooted racial inequalities and negative experiences faced by BAME communities, which is why this event is vitally important to help combat vaccine hesitancy.

The live-stream event, which will be available to access via the council’s website and Facebook page, will be chaired by Lord Simon Woolley CBE, Founder of Operation Black Vote and will help encourage vaccine confidence through a variety of voices, from both professionals and local community groups, sharing their thoughts, experiences and reasons for getting vaccinated.

[1] YouGov/GLA, ‘It was announced last week that an effective COVID-19 vaccine has been developed by Pfizer. When the Pfizer vaccine becomes available on the NHS, how likely or unlikely are you to take it?’ 24-27 November, Online. Base 1028 adults in London

Cllr Rachael Robathan, Leader of Westminster Council, said:

“We know that the route out of lockdown is by rolling out the vaccination programme as quickly as possible. We understand some people in London and Westminster have valid concerns about having the vaccine and this, paired with some of the dangerous anti-vaccination propaganda we have seen being circulated, creates a problem for us when it comes to uptake in the vaccine.

“With just under a third of black Londoners saying they will get the vaccine and the BAME communities being particularly hit by Covid, there’s a clear problem here which we need to address as lives are at stake. It is our job to work with the local community and health authorities to ensure the right information reaches our residents, so we’re able to reassure them and make sure that they are aware of the facts and understand what’s at stake with this vaccine.” 

Lord Simon Woolley CBE, Founder of Operation Black Vote, said:

“I do understand why some people have reservations and concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine –  which is rooted in the long- standing racial inequalities for Black, Asian and minority-ethnic communities, especially when it comes to healthcare. These perspectives are valid and deserve to be addressed.

“By chairing this important event, and hearing from our diverse panel, we can hopefully dispel the half-truths and down-right lies that is causing so much damage to those who are already hesitant about the vaccine. I hope the information that we can provide from this discussion will save many lives, particularly those from the most vulnerable communities.”

The live-stream event will take place on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at 6.30pm. This is a non-ticketed event that can be joined via Facebook, YouTube and on the council website.

For more information and how to join please visit the event page.

 The event is supported by a high-profile expert panel, including:

  • Lord Simon Woolley CBE, Founder of Operation Black Vote
  • Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Director, Public Health England
  • Dr Sonya Abraham, National Institute for Health Research
  • Plus other panel members from the local community to be confirmed

Media Contact

Media queries: Westminster City Council media team on 020 7641 2259 or [email protected]

Notes to Editors

  • The event is held in partnership with Operation Black Vote, Public Health England, and other partners including the National Institute of Health and Research (NIHR)
  • Attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions to our panel of local health experts and community leaders following the main panel discussion
  • You can submit questions prior to the event on the Eventbrite registration form or by visiting: www.westminster.gov.uk/covid-vaccination-discussion
  • Please note, to pose your questions to the panel during the event you must stream the event via Westminster City Council’s Facebook page
  • Following the event, a recording will be posted on our website. The event will be BSL interpreted live
  • Your details will not be shared or used for any purpose other than to provide event information