MYTH busting initiatives have been undertaken by Slough Council to reassure hesitant residents about the Covid-19 vaccines.

As the nationwide vaccine rollout continues to ramp up, it has been reported in the media that people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities have been hesitant about getting the jab.

Some point to myths and conspiracy theories spreading on social media causing this hesitancy – with misinformation falsely claiming the vaccines contain meat products or modify a person’s DNA.

Speaking on BBC Radio Berkshire, Slough’s MP Tan Dhesi said it “pained” him to see a large number of people in all communities – but particularly the BAME community – not wanting to get the jab due to the disinformation.

A spokesperson from Slough Borough Council told the Observer that the borough already has a low take-up in other vaccines, such as flu, HPV, etc., across all communities – but added the vaccination effort in Slough is working ‘very well’.

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They said this hesitancy could be boiled down to cultural reasons as well as social media spreading myths and conspiracies, causing people to be more cautious.

A mass vaccine site was opened in Slough at Salt Hill Activity Centre last month, offering the jab to all cohorts in the borough as well as those who live up to 45-minutes away.

Salt Hill Activity Centre

Salt Hill Activity Centre

However, they said the council is working with East Berkshire clinical commissioning group and public health and are engaging with community groups, faith communities, and individuals who are hesitant on the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine in the hopes of dispelling any misinformation.

This involves them talking with GPs or people who have had family members take the vaccine to relieve their worries.

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Another initiative helping to ease off the vaccine hesitancy is the community champions network – which is made up of trusted figures in Slough ensuring as many residents as possible are vaccinated whilst dispelling any myths and misinformation on the jab.

The spokesperson said: “People have concerns and it’s down to us to tackle those concerns or give them the opportunity to raise those concerns and talk about it with people in the know rather than so-and-so up the street.”