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Vaccine Le Chéile/Together
Irish in Britain launched a COVID-19 vaccine promotional campaign - ‘Vaccine Le Chéile’ in January 2022. This campaign is a membership/ community response to research that found lower vaccination rates of Irish people living in Britain in comparison to the majority of the British population.
The aim of this campaign is to provide Irish people and their networks living in Britain, particularly those who have yet to receive any doses of the vaccination with evidence-based information to enable them to make positive informed choices for their health.
Information will be shared through our diverse member organisations and Irish community networks and supplemented by a wider digital campaign to build awareness, to educate and expand opportunities for information and support.
Watch video messages of support for the campaign, including from Ambassador Adrian O'Neill and our Patron Elizabeth Anionwu.
Covid Vaccine Coverage Update
(Updated June 2022)
Irish in Britain's Vaccine le Cheile/Together campaign is delighted at the latest Covid-19 vaccine figures that show the gap in vaccine uptake between the Irish and British populations is decreasing.
Latest figures show that the Irish community are still coming forward to get their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.
Recent statistics have found a noticeable decrease in the vaccine coverage gap for most age groups where it was previously found that the Irish population were lagging slightly behind in comparison to the British population. (Campaign Launch Research Findings from January 2022 can be read below.)
As of June 2022, an average of 86 percent of the Irish population in Britain have now received their first dose or more of the vaccine, which is substantial increase since January 2022. These new figures show an average difference of just 6 percent between the Irish community and the wider British population, 92 percent of which have received their first dose or more.
The increase of vaccine coverage among the Irish population in Britain is particularly prevalent between the 40-65 age group, a group that was of notable concern in previous vaccine coverage statistics by OpenSAFELY.* Now 85 percent of this age cohort of the Irish in Britain have received their first vaccine or more – a 6 percent increase since January 2022.
Research from OpenSAFELY data has highlighted that Irish people living in Britain indicate a lower vaccine uptake at all age ranges in comparison to British and Mixed British population. The lower vaccine uptake among Irish people living in Britain is evident across all age ranges,
There has been a significant difference noted particularly for the younger age cohorts from 18-50 years. Furthermore, this data highlights that Irish 30–39-year-olds have had a 17.7 percent difference in vaccine uptake in comparison to the British population within the same age cohort.
However, it is also worth noting that there are number of additional reasons as to why younger people may come up on the figures as being unvaccinated for example, they may have already received the vaccination back in Ireland in which this study does not account for.
Brian MacKenna, Pharmacist in the OpenSAFELY team based at the University of Oxford said:
“The NHS has rapidly delivered a very successful vaccination campaign; however we have found lower vaccination coverage amongst some groups including the Irish community. The OpenSAFELY platform facilitates timely and important COVID-19 research across 57 million people’s NHS records including 200,000 Irish people, whilst maintaining the security and privacy of an individual’s health record.
"We hope our weekly OpenSAFELY data reports can help inform the Vaccine Le Chéile campaign, to increase vaccine coverage amongst the Irish community.”
It is also important to state that there is also positive news from these findings. Nearly 90 percent of Irish people living in Irish in Britain have received their booster vaccination to date. This is only slightly below rates of the broader British population. Encouragingly the Irish age cohort of 50-55 years are currently surpass uptake rate for their third vaccine booster dose when compared to the British population.
Irish in Britain has surveyed our member groups on their experience with COVID-19 vaccinations and 47 percent of respondents stated that they had experienced vaccine hesitancy among their members/service users. More details of the survey results HERE.
The nature of community transmission of Covid 19 and the age profile of our community heightens the importance of this vaccination for public health. This campaign has been endorsed by our members at our recent AGM and will be an important part of our health and wellbeing programmes this year. We look forward to working with you all – ‘Vaccine Le Chéile/Together’.
Ellen Gavin (Health and Wellbeing Development Officer at Irish in Britain):
“I am delighted to be leading this campaign as I believe that it is a very important one as the health of the Irish community is paramount to our work at Irish in Britain. This campaign entails a number of elements including an information pack to members, a designated web page on our website including videos, relevant links and frequently asked questions, vaccine access information and a COVID-19 vaccine informational webinar for members. I hope that our efforts will lead to positive results that will in turn, shorten the current vaccine rate gap among the Irish people living in Britain.”
Clodagh Dunne (Health and Wellbeing Project Coordinator at Liverpool Irish Centre):
“Liverpool Irish Centre, are happy to support Vaccine Le Chéile, it is of utmost importance that we provide our communities with the opportunities to get vaccinated to protect ourselves and each other. Research shows that Irish people living in Britain have a lower vaccine uptake at all age ranges in comparison to the majority of the British population. We will work with Irish in Britain to ensure we help reduce the risk of members of our community getting seriously ill or dying.”
Access to the OpenSafely weekly COVID-19 vaccine coverage report that was used to compile this information can be found HERE.