Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine deployment plan: update - March 2021

Update to the January 2021 plan setting out how we will roll out vaccinations in Scotland to vaccinate 4.5 million people. This plan was updated in July 2021.

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Communication and inclusivity

The NHS Inform website is regularly updated with reliable information on the vaccination programme. Key information is available in 21 community languages, audio, British Sign Language (BSL), large print and easy read formats. Vaccination invitation letters are also regularly reviewed to improve people’s experience.

Roll Up Your Sleeves

The Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign was developed to motivate and encourage Scottish adults to get vaccinated against COVID-19. As the vaccine programme was launched we wanted to encourage adults to roll up their sleeves when it was their turn to be offered the vaccine. The multi-channel campaign runs across TV, radio, digital, press, social, partnerships and PR. This campaign will reach 97% of all adults in Scotland (around 4.1 million people) and on average will be seen by people 15.8 times.

Making sure the vaccination programme is inclusive

We must ensure that all eligible adults in Scotland are included in this COVID-19 vaccination programme. Uptake has so far been exceptionally high, and the dedication of faith, third sector and community groups working alongside Scottish Government, and locally with Health Boards, has been essential in achieving this. The challenge now is to continue to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and at the same time ensure that we make vaccination accessible to people who are less likely to consider it, in particular those who are most at risk.

We know there are various reasons why people may have difficulty in accessing the larger vaccination centres or may be less likely to participate in the vaccination programme in general. These include practical and physical barriers such as access to transport, access to digital technology, and insecure postal addresses, but also psychological and social reasons such as culture, unfamiliar surroundings and people.

Together with Health Boards, we are further increasing focus and resource on ensuring the programme is inclusive of all adults in Scotland who want to take up the offer of a vaccination. It is important to understand who is and is not taking up the vaccination so we can adjust our delivery and communications models. More outreach work is planned in the coming weeks and months as we continue to adapt our approach to feedback we are receiving from individuals and partner organisations.

We have a steering group of different organisations to co-produce outreach and specific approaches where required. These are organisations which work closely with groups such as homeless people and asylum seekers. We are also always looking at how we can improve our understanding of vaccine uptake through better data collection, adapted delivery outreach models and targeted communications.

So far, we have worked with the following organisations to ensure marketing messages are more powerful and resonate with all of our communities:

  • BEMIS (Umbrella organisation for the Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector in Scotland)
  • CEMVO (National intermediary partner and strategic partner of the Scottish Government Equality Unit)
  • MEHIS (Minority Ethnic Health Inclusion Service)
  • MECOPP (Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project)
  • the Scottish Public Health Network (Gypsy/Traveller Community)

NHS Forth Valley in partnership with the Scottish Ambulance Service and local authority teams have effectively targeted people experiencing homelessness who are in emergency accommodation, Gypsy/Traveller and asylum seeker and refugee communities with a person-centred vaccination provision. The work succeeded in vaccinating 105 people who reported that they would not have attended for vaccination if they were expected to attend more general community or GP services. During the interactions, the teams were able to provide health promoting messages on a number of topics including Take-home-Naloxone, mental health and foodbanks and maximising finance services.

Moving forward the learning from this initiative will be applied by more Health Boards and other communities including those with enduring and debilitating mental health conditions and addictions. Statistics on vaccination uptake by index of multiple deprivation and ethnicity published from 24 March will also inform our inclusive programme.

Examples of specific communication and delivery approaches

Scottish Refugee Council have worked with local people to film accurate vaccine messages in different languages.

NHS Forth Valley are working with Scottish Ambulance Service to run outreach vaccination with local communities.

NHS Borders have filmed obstetricians promoting the vaccines.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have worked closely with different Black and Minority Ethnic groups to develop accurate vaccine messages.   

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