Overcoming COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minorities: A systematic review of UK studies

Elsevier, Vaccine, Volume 40, 31 May 2022
Hussain B., Latif A., Timmons S., Nkhoma K., Nellums L.B.

Ethnic minority communities in the UK have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with increased risks of infection, severe disease, and death. Hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine may be contributing to disparities in vaccine delivery to ethnic minority communities. This systematic review aims to strengthen understanding of COVID-19 vaccine concerns among ethnic minorities in the UK. Five databases were searched in February 2022, yielding 24 peer-reviewed studies reporting on vaccine hesitancy or acceptance in ethnic minority groups. Data were extracted using a standardised form, and quality assessment was carried out using the Standard Quality Criteria. There were three key themes: (1). Prevalence of vaccine hesitancy; (2). Reasons for vaccine hesitancy and acceptance; and (3). Recommendations to address vaccine concerns. Vaccine hesitancy, which was more common among some ethnic minority groups, is a complex phenomenon, driven by misinformation, mistrust, concerns about safety and efficacy, and structural and systemic inequities. Community engagement and tailored communication may help to address vaccine concerns. Robust data disaggregated by ethnicities are needed to better understand barriers and facilitators for COVID-19 vaccine delivery in ethnic minority communities. Strategies to address structural disadvantage need to be inclusive, comprehensive, and behaviorally informed and foster confidence in healthcare systems and governments. Community leaders and health care practitioners may prove to be the most important agents in creating an environment of trust within ethnic minority groups.