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Covid Champion pharmacy scheme cracks vaccine hesitancy

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Covid Champion pharmacy scheme cracks vaccine hesitancy

By Neil Trainis

More than 6,000 people decided to have a Covid vaccine after a conversation with a pharmacist during a six-month period, including many people who were previously reluctant to get one, according to the results of a study that was run in six London boroughs.

Researchers from Kingston University analysed the results of the Covid Champion initiative, which was launched in July last year by South East London Integrated Care System in the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. They described the outcome as “hugely successful” in tackling vaccine hesitancy.

Over 8,500 conversations took place between patients and community pharmacy teams who discussed their concerns and answered any questions they had about the vaccines. The study resulted in 2,000 more people accepting a vaccine despite previously deciding against it.

The study uncovered a lack of understanding about the jabs as the “biggest reason for patients' initial hesitance." Researchers also found “cultural issues and risk of blood clots” as factors behind patients’ reluctance to get jabbed.

Associate professor of pharmacy practice at Kingston University Dr Ricarda Micallef said: "Many of the people the pharmacy teams spoke to felt they didn't have enough information about the vaccine, couldn't understand how it could be developed in that time-frame and be safe to administer so quickly – there was a lot of scepticism.”

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