Voluntary Health Scotland has launched a new report on vaccine inclusion in Scotland
A charity has published a new report which examines what must be done to ensure communities can access the coronavirus vaccine.
Voluntary Health Scotland (VHS) has launched its briefing report Vaccine Inclusion – Reducing inequalities one Vaccine at a time. The report seeks to explore the key barriers and enablers to accessing the Covid-19 vaccine and how the vaccine delivery model can be improved to reduce inequalities and provide holistic support to those who need it the most.
The key messages from the report are that our health system has a clear moral and human rights duty to those vulnerable groups who fall through the gaps of public service provision to ensure that they are not failed by this crucially important public health intervention. Some of the key demographics highlighted within the research are at very high risk if they do contract Covid-19, including people who are homeless, prisoners, people living in poverty, people who abuse drugs and alcohol, black and ethnic minority groups, gypsy travellers, refugees and asylum seekers.
The report calls against viewing the Covid-19 vaccine programme as a silo: the programme has to be part of a whole-system, preventative approach to public health and to health inequalities. This requires a joined up suite of interventions that not only help people access the vaccine but supports them to stay well afterwards and enables them to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations safely.
There are a number of recommendations calling for improvements in the communications relating to the Covid-19 vaccine, a need to prioritise collection and analysis of local data about uptake of Covid-19 vaccine by different communities and groups as well as the need to conduct active research into the ongoing vaccination programme. The report also recommends developing a rolling programme of outreach vaccination clinics, services and events as well as provision of accessible, affordable transport to vaccine centres and clinics. Finally, the report highlights the importance of involving third sector and community partners in the planning, communications and delivery of public health interventions that could help prevent, mitigate and reduce health inequalities.
The findings of the report will be shared with Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland, NHS boards as well as a range of key stakeholders across the voluntary sector.