Flu is a very common viral illness that is spread through coughs and sneezes. It is very unpredictable and is a key factor in creating NHS winter pressures. The Seasonal Flu Vaccine Programme is one of the measures that helps to reduce illness in the community and unplanned hospital admissions, and therefore pressure on health services generally.
Black, African, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, and in addition are more likely to be in ‘at risk’ flu groups due to higher than average rates of health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Our Sheffield BAME Inequalities Communities Group, co-chaired by Faithstar and Public Health, has brought together more than 20 BAME community organisations from across Sheffield to start to build bridges and trust between community and statutory organisations.
In this group community organisations have shared a variety of misconceptions about vaccines, which could lead to a reduced uptake of the flu vaccine among our BAME population. In September 2020, Sheffield CCG has given £20,000 to fund community organisations (a maximum of £1000 each) to help raise awareness of the availability and importance of receiving the flu vaccination.
This work is currently underway, examples of activity include (socially distanced) conversations with people while their food parcels are being delivered, educational films being promoted via Facebook and Twitter, slots on community radio targeted at taxi drivers, messages via community WhatsApp and WeChat groups, all delivered in community languages and tailored appropriately, whilst utilising the national flu programme messages.
Individual organisations will be asked to evaluate how effective their outreach work has been based on the evaluation criteria they set themselves and that data will be collected and collated at the start of 2021.
Watch the below video from Greg Fell, Sheffield Director of Public Health, discussing the flu vaccine and busting the myths around the vaccine.
Read more about the ACP BAME Strategic Group and its two sub-groups, plus the agreed action plan developed through these groups to address racial inequalities in our city by clicking the button below.