Vaccine Facts campaign in south east London

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.

‘ZPB were able to distill 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 SEL 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 NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group and Our Healthier South East London


It was on December 8 2020, during the second and more deadly wave of the pandemic, that Lyn Wheeler from Bromley received her Covid vaccine at Guy’s Hospital. Hers was the first of over two million vaccinations delivered by Our Healthier South East London ICS – an organisation that brings together health and care organisations and local councils. Within weeks, however, local managers realised people from ethnic minorities were not having vaccines at the same rate as the white community. In some areas, less than 50% of Black Caribbean and Black African communities had received vaccines, compared with 80% of white people.


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 were:

  • Any campaign needed to be inclusive of all ethnicities without singling out and targeting one specific community.
  • Feedback showed that individuals want facts – information going beyond the message of ‘it will protect you’.
  • Overtly persuasive wording needed to be avoided so communities did not feel pressured to have the vaccine.

People had questions about the Covid vaccine. Misinformation was being distributed on social media and shared on platforms like WhatsApp and most people wanted to get the facts and make up their own mind.  

Vaccine Facts website

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.  

Questions about the vaccine

Research showed people less confident in taking the vaccine had questions about safety and effectiveness. Common questions include:
What’s in a vaccine?
How were the vaccines made so quickly?
Why should I have the vaccine if I am young and healthy?

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.


A two-day photoshoot by Mischa Haller in all six boroughs captured a diverse mixture of local people recognisably in south east London, notably in the iconic settings of the South Bank and Greenwich Park, as well as a council estate in the suburb of Erith and the back streets of Peckham.  


Outdoor advertising

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?”


The Vaccine Facts website has been rolled out for all Londoners and taken on by NHS England and Improvement London region. In terms of reach, the campaign achieved:

Extensive digital reach: The digital campaign included 50 million Google ad impressions; 919k people reached on Facebook with 91k clicks; 431k people reached through Spotify

Engaging content: 40k people visited the Vaccine Facts website, with a very low bounce rate of 16% indicating the content was engaging and relevant

High brand awareness: One in five south east Londoners said they saw the campaign


In order to measure impact, we surveyed 650 people across the six boroughs to benchmark attitudes towards vaccination before and after the Vaccine Facts campaign. The main outcomes were:

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: Before the campaign, 77% of respondents were vaccinated, which rose to 87% after the campaign
– Black, Asian and minority ethnic increased from 64% to 83% vaccinated
– Religious respondents increased from 65% to 80% vaccinated

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%.

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