Filipino healthcare staff have recently been reported to have the lowest uptake of Covid-19 vaccine at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the largest hospital trust in England.
The trust’s Director of Workforce Daniel Waldron was quoted as saying that although “Black-African and black-Carribean staff are showing more vaccine hesitancy…Filipino staff are actually the lowest group [in terms of uptake]”.
Filipinos’ apparent vaccine hesitancy reflects the wider attitude among people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in a poll commissioned by the Royal Society for Public Health. The results of the survey conducted in December 2020 showed that only 57% of respondents from BAME backgrounds were likely to accept Covid vaccine, compared to 79% of white respondents.
In response to the foundation trust’s report and to address questions raised by some of its members, Filipino Nurses Association UK (FNA UK) will be holding a Covid-19 experts panel webinar on Thursday, 11 February from 6 to 7:30 in the evening.
Ariel Lanada, interim president of FNA UK, said that “[I]t is especially important for us, nurses, and people working in the National Health Service to listen to these concerns, to explore and to try to understand (them) and also to present the correct information to our members and the public in general”.
The aim of the webinar is to engage with Filipinos and to listen to their concerns. One of the key speakers is Dr. Mark Toshner, principal investigator for the Oxford vaccine trial in Cambridge. Other panellists include Tracy Cripps, BAME staff network vice chair at Cambridge University Hospital; Dr. Malur Sudhanva, consultant virologist at Kings College Hospital; Wilfred Cadelina, nurse and Covid-19 survivor; May Parsons, first Covid vaccinator in the UK, and; Fr. Claro Conde, Filipino Catholic priest based in Oxford.
Lanada stressed that it is important “not to automatically dismiss (people’s concerns) because they may be rooted to (sic) historical events in relation to other vaccines.” He cited that in the Philippines, there was a controversy about a particular vaccine in the past, which may have prompted some people to lose their trust to authorities and the scientific community.
To join the webinar, here are the Zoom details: Zoom ID: 95064640982; Passcode: 272951.