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Webinars focus on vaccine myths and misinformation in minority ethnic communities

06 May 2021

Faith leaders, doctors and volunteer peer educators joined forces for a myth-busting training webinar on Covid vaccine hesitancy among minority ethnic communities.

Organised by Kidney Research UK, 19 of our peer educator volunteers took part in the event, aimed at raising awareness and answering common questions.

Hilaria Asumu
Hilaria Asumu

The webinars are a pilot project by Kidney Research UK with plans to roll them out in other areas of the UK as needed.

Hilaria Asumu, one of the patients attending the event, said: "I am a kidney transplant patient from the African-Caribbean community and I was very sick for 10 years before I got my transplant in 2018.

Put aside fears

“It is important that our community put aside our fears, suspicions and hesitancy about the vaccine.  We must educate ourselves, and others and ask questions, to help us make informed decisions about taking the vaccine.

“This will help to protect, not only ourselves, but others within our homes and community like me."

The session empowered our peer educators, who are patients or family members who have had the vaccine, to hold their own webinars in their patient communities in the coming weeks.

Joining the training were four faith leaders from the black Christian, Sikh, Hindu and Muslim communities.

Bushra Riaz, peer educator coordinator for Kidney Research UK, said: “The webinar explored cultural, anecdotal and historical barriers. Issues that came up included querying if animal products were used in the vaccine and asking if the vaccine is allowed by certain faiths.

“When working with poorly reached communities faith can often generate questions. The key is building trust and rapport. It was extremely empowering for peer educators to have the knowledge and language needed to make a difference.”

Fight against the virus

Dr Manvir Hayer, consultant nephrologist at the University Hospitals of Birmingham, explained how the vaccine is not a risk to fertility and discussed the long-term effects for kidney patients.

She also discussed the particularly devastating impact of Covid on minority ethnic kidney patients and therefore the greater need to take the vaccine, as well as addressing several areas of common concern.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and an instrumental part of our fight against this virus,” she said.

It is hoped a webinar aimed at the renal patients in the Sikh community will be hosted at the end of May followed by webinars aimed at patients from other faith groups.

Many thanks to those taking part:

Dr Manvir Hayer, consultant kidney doctor, University Hospitals of Birmingham

Kirit Modi, Kidney transplant patient and president, National Kidney Federation (NKF

Dr Valentine Ngwa, consultant geriatrician and education lead at CamDocUK

Hilaria Asumu, kidney transplant patient

Dela Idowu, chief executive officer, GOLD (Gift of Living Donation)

Faith leaders

Rev. Eve Pitts

Sukhbir Singh

Ravi Shastri

Shaykh Dr Rafāqat Rashid

Behaviour change

Dr Sharlene Greenwood, president of the British Renal Society, and a consultant physiotherapist and NIHR research fellow, King's College Hospital, London.

For more information on the Covid vaccine follow the link.

Dr Manvir Hayer
Dr Manvir Hayer

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