Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine inclusion: vaccination programme - phase one

An overview of the inclusive approach adopted during the first stage of the COVID-19 vaccinations programme (December 2020 - September 2021). This includes examples of health board approaches and activities delivered in collaboration with stakeholders, and national programme activity and support.

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5. Engagement and co-production

Programme objective:

Vaccine delivery is tailored to the needs of the different groups, who were involved
in key decision making, which reduces barriers and therefore increases uptake.

Examples of national programme support:

A National Vaccination Inclusive Steering Group was formed, with representatives from health boards, academia, faith groups, and third and community sector organisations. The group brings together partners from under-vaccinated communities to provide advice and input, encourage collaboration and is an opportunity to share practice across the country. Learning and offers of support from this group were routinely shared with health boards.

Health boards attended regular delivery meetings, giving the opportunity to discuss specific work carried out to reach inclusive groups, and examples were shared on with other boards. This offered the opportunity to implement ideas quickly and effectively using a similar approach and to share best practice regularly.

Public Health Scotland undertook extensive stakeholder engagement as part of the development of the Health Inequalities Impact Assessment which was shared with all health boards to support their inclusive planning.

Other tailored video and voice messages were produced for use with communities across the country, including for unpaid carers, refugees and asylum seekers, faith groups and those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy. These messages can be accessed on the Scottish Government YouTube channel. In collaboration with the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) and Public Health Scotland, a Facebook live event was held on getting the vaccine during Ramadan.

Scottish Government provided £80,000 to trusted community organisations through the BEMIS Vaccine Information Fund to support vaccine uptake within minority ethnic groups.

The Scottish Government worked closely with the Scottish Prison Service, NHS and Public Health Scotland to consider the specific needs of people in prison. This included developing tailored advice for individuals who have been identified at highest risk from COVID-19 and resources to encourage take up of the vaccination across the prison estate.

Examples of health board approaches and activities:

All health boards worked closely with those in their communities to ensure they benefitted from local knowledge, insights and relationships early on in the programme. A range of locally tailored resources were produced and sessions held in collaboration with partners.

Many set up or utilised existing equalities and inclusion advisory groups with representation from local community, third and faith sector. These groups supported and advised on a range of local activity to ensure that everyone was able to access the vaccination.

Health boards also invited and responded to feedback from their communities to ensure that they were continually learning and improving services.

Some examples of local engagement and co-production include:

  • NHS Borders: Working with test and protect colleagues attended St Boswell's fair offering drop-in vaccination and handing out lateral flow test kits to reach Gypsy / Traveller communities.
  • NHS Dumfries and Galloway: Engaged with their local multicultural association for advice and suggestions to increase information around vaccine safety; workshop held with LGBTQ+ youth group to provide information and dispel myths.
  • NHS Fife: Held regular meetings with local LGBTQ+ organisations undertaking stakeholder engagement work; worked with the Fife Centre for Equalities and Fife Migrants Forum to develop accessible communications and engaged with support workers in these communities.
  • NHS Forth Valley: Reached out to the Polish community through connections with the Roman Catholic Church in Falkirk; piloted outreach work with Scottish Ambulance Service and local authority teams to understand concerns and approaches to support people experiencing homelessness who are in emergency accommodation, Gypsy / Travellers, asylum seeker and refugee communities.
  • NHS Grampian: Engaged with mosques and a clinic set up in one of the local mosques.
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde: Worked with homeless teams who visit temporary accommodation to offer people vaccinations.
  • NHS Lanarkshire: Engaged with the local South Asian / Muslim community to develop a seminar to dispel myths around the vaccine; established links with Gypsy / Traveller communities to ensure people are supported to attend for vaccination; reached out to student welfare leads to identify students who may be eligible for the vaccine, but haven't been able to access it.
  • NHS Lothian: Reached out to the Polish community through Polish Priests and engaged with a local Rabbi to support the Jewish community; Edinburgh Access Practice, in partnership with Streetwork and other third sector organisations, supported understanding of how to best offer vaccination to homeless people, some of whom were undocumented migrants; Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian reached out to people experiencing homelessness through partnership with local substance misuse teams and third sector.
  • NHS Orkney: Engaged with LGBT+ services to help with advice around consent and other NHS vaccine information.
  • NHS Highland: Worked with the local Chinese community to increase engagement with the programme.
  • NHS Tayside: Engaged with the local Chinese community through collaboration with a local Chinese restaurant. The restaurant, which was close to a vaccination centre, offered space to engage with the community.
  • NHS Shetland: Undertook partnership work with local agencies which have relationships with under-vaccinated communities to ensure they are reached.
  • NHS Western Isles: Engaged with employers of contractors to encourage employees from mainland to come forward to vaccination (including seafarers).



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