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The brief

Covid has affected the Black community disproportionately and the high rates of hesitancy towards the Covid vaccines is a live health inequalities emergency.
Health leaders in south east London acted fast when research revealed that national Covid communications messages were not resonating with their communities and commissioned ZPB to develop a locally tailored campaign with an information resource for south Londoners at its heart.
The insight

South East London Integrated Care System – an organisation that brings together health and care organisations and local councils discovered within weeks of the second wave of Covid realised people from ethnic minorities were not having vaccines at the same rate as the white community.
of people from Black communities had received vaccines
of people from white communities had received vaccines
The strategy
ZPB did a rapid review of emerging research and recruited a local online focus group panel to test creative approaches and provide insight into specific issues. In addition, creative approaches were co-created with local community researchers.

key learnings:

The campaign needed to be inclusive of all ethnicities and not single out any specific community
Include facts that are beyond the message of ‘it will protect you’

lots of questions about the covid vaccine arose and overtly persuasive wording needed to be avoided so communities did not feel pressured to have the vaccine.

Misinformation was being distributed on social media so communities wanted to get the real facts and make up their own mind.  

The communications

To build confidence in the Covid vaccine programme, the Vaccine Facts website and campaign was developed to address the two key issues – trust and confidence.  
Research showed people less confident taking the vaccine had questions about safety and effectiveness. Common questions include:
ZPB developed accessible articles and videos, reviewed by public health consultants and clinicians.  
Real stories
Addressing issues about trust, ZPB sourced local people, some of whom voice hesitancy and concerns about the vaccines, including Asher, a Somali Muslim woman from Greenwich. Moses’s story really drives home the importance of the vaccine. His story of losing his sister to Covid is powerful, and his dedication to encouraging others to get vaccinated inspiring.
The strategy was targeted to postcodes with low vaccine uptake and a data mapping exercise pinpointed the precise localities.  

Digital advertising
For Facebook ads, we tested creative and the best performing films were rolled out. Campaigns ran across Google Display, Spotify, Instagram and Snapchat.
“So, the video on how vaccines were produced so fast seems interesting! Also knowing it’s been researched globally is reassuring. After seeing these videos I’m considering getting my vaccine done soon. Any tips?”

Vaccine hesitancy profile changed: ethnicity is no longer a defining feature of resistance. Although the proportion of people who said they would not get the vaccine did not change significantly (from 15% to 12%), the proportion of black and ethnic minority respondents found in that group did.

One in four black and ethnic minority respondents were resistant before the campaign (24%) – falling significantly to 14% afterwards. In the pre-campaign survey, 45% of resistants had an ethnic minority background. By the time of the post-campaign survey, this had fallen significantly to 36%.
million Google impressions
reaches on facebook
clicks on facebook
people reached on Spotify

High brand awareness: 
1 in 5 south east Londoners said they saw the campaign

Increased vaccine confidence: The number of Black, Asian and ethnic minority people who said they would take the vaccine if offered increased from 76% to 86%

Increased vaccinations:

of respondents before campaign were vaccinated



of respondents after campaign were vaccinated

Black, Asian and minority ethnic increased from 64% to 83% vaccinated

Religious respondents increased from 65% to 80% vaccinated

ZPB were able to distil the issues around vaccine confidence and create a campaign which provided both personal motivation to get the vaccine as well as answering the scientific questions people have about the vaccine. The creative was designed to authentically reflect our communities and this was used to great effect in hyper-local media buying. Innovative campaign concepts such as the radio partnership created gravitas and allowed the audience to get underneath the issues through interviews with local clinicians from their communities. We’re really proud of Vaccine Facts and role it has played in our vaccine rollout.

Pamela Froggatt

Deputy director communications and engagement at South East London Integrated Care System

Interested in working with us? 
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