Hackney teachers have developed a learning pack about the Covid-19 vaccination that is now being distributed across London to reassure young people about the safety of the vaccine and encourage them to speak to older relatives about getting it. 

The teachers at Stoke Newington School developed the learning materials with input from students and public health professions. 

While the majority of young Londoners say they would accept a Covid-19 vaccine, some are hesitant. Insight work in Hackney and across London has shown that younger people are more likely to have concerns or believe misinformation about the Covid vaccine.

The learning resources include PowerPoint presentations with detailed teaching notes and embedded videos, which can be found on the Hackney Education website. 

Umbrella organisation London Councils has now distributed the materials to all boroughs in London, who can share the materials with local primary and secondary school. 

Research carried out by Hackney Council as part of the boroughs’ collaborative ‘Keep London Safe’ campaign shows that young Londoners are significantly more uncertain about the Covid-19 vaccine compared to older age groups. Hackney’s survey of attitudes towards receiving a vaccine found 7% of those aged 16-24 would “definitely not” get vaccinated and 21% were “unsure”. By contrast, only 8% of respondents aged 75 and older were “unsure” – and none in this age group said they would definitely not get it. 

This chimes with additional research seen by London boroughs suggesting that those who rely most heavily on social media for news and information – rather than traditional news sources such as newspapers – are more likely to be sceptical about vaccines. 

It is hoped that, after learning about the vaccine in schools, young people will speak to older relatives and reassure them about its safety. This is backed up by experience from previous public health campaigns, on subjects such as smoking and seatbelt wearing, which have shown that young people can be powerful advocates when it comes to influencing the health behaviours of older family members.

London boroughs are working in close partnership with the NHS to support the successful roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the capital. Boroughs are using their local knowledge and community leadership to promote vaccine take-up among all of London’s diverse communities – including through mobilising volunteers, organising community champions, and providing access to hard-to-reach groups who aren’t necessarily registered with a GP.

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