How the Welsh NHS has reached ethnic minorities less keen on contact tracing and vaccines
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
Local doctors, short videos and mobile testing sites have all contributed to the effort to reach ethnic minorities less keen on contract tracing and vaccines.
Cardiff and Vale Test Trace Protect has been making a special effort to reach some communities who have lower vaccination and testing rates.
Leaflets have featured several different languages to spread important information on the coronavirus pandemic like spotting symptoms and the need to get tested and vaccinated.
Details of the efforts made within Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, which have some of the most ethnically diverse populations in Wales, were revealed in a recent Vale council report.
Councillors on the learning and culture scrutiny committee will meet on Thursday, June 10, to hear about the efforts made by the Test Trace Protect sub-group on ethnic minorities.
The report said: “Throughout the response to the pandemic, there has been a need to engage ethnic minority communities in Cardiff and the Vale to support the delivery of public health messages, the work of Test Trace Protect, and the mass vaccination programme.
“It became quickly apparent that considerable work would be required to engage some ethnic minority communities, and that doing so would be essential in supporting the objectives of Test Trace Protect and preventing transmission within those at greater risk.”
Test Trace Protect worked with groups such as the South Riverside Community Development Centre, Welsh Refugee Council, Cardiff and Vale College, Oasis Cardiff, and Butetown Community Centre, who helped to communicate key messages about coronavirus.
The messages included symptoms of Covid-19, following lockdown rules, getting tested, and the safety and importance of vaccines. Much of the messages were shared via social media, including using specially designed graphics, gifs and videos.
Some communities in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan who have particularly smaller vaccine rates include Black African, Black Caribbean and Chinese ethnic groups.
Test Trace Protect has been producing short videos featuring “trusted spokespeople”, such as local doctors and religious leaders. This was seen as a “very effective” way of communicating key messages, and addressing literacy issues in some communities.
Mobile testing was also seen as important, with two sites opening in south Cardiff in December, both seeing high demand. Travelling distance was not as important as how some people felt about having to travel “outside of a community area”.
Fewer people in ethnic minorities in Wales are getting vaccinated compared to white British groups, according to Public Health Wales, although the gap has been recently narrowing. As of last May, the largest vaccine-uptake gap in Wales is in those aged 50 to 59 year olds.
Among this age group, 79.9 per cent of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups had been vaccinated, compared to 91.3 per cent of white ethnic groups — as of when Public Health Wales published its most recent monthly vaccination surveillance report.