A qualitative study of attitudes and perceptions of COVID-19 vaccines among ethnic minorities in the UK

  • Mwaka Nanyangwe
Keywords: COVID-19 vaccines, Attitudes, Perceptions, Ethnic minorities, Hesitancy


COVID-19 vaccines are being used to control the spread and effects of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over six million people worldwide and presents an unusual challenge to public health. The UK began to offer vaccines to high-risk groups first after the 8th of December 2020. Despite being disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the importance of the vaccines, willingness to be vaccinated among ethnic minority populations varies for reasons outside the accessibility of vaccines. This study explores the attitudes and perceptions of COVID-19 vaccines among ethnic minorities in the UK. A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was conducted via Microsoft Teams with eleven participants in November 2021. Convenience and snowballing sampling were used. Data was collected, transcribed, and coded using thematic analysis. Of the 11 participants, four had overall good perception, and positive attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination while seven said that they were not vaccinated and did not intend to do so. Most of the participants stated that vaccines were developed too quickly hence they did not trust them. Participants also stated possible side effects that they feared could cause long-term ill-health and felt that the Government did not do enough to educate the public about COVID-19 and address discrimination and racism towards ethnic minorities. Despite the misinformation and the conspiracy theories circulating on social media, a few participants said they got vaccinated because it was the right thing to do and wanted to go back to their normal lives as soon as possible. Overall, there was COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the participants in this study. Negative attitudes and poor perceptions toward the COVID-19 vaccination were important factors in the low uptake of the vaccines. The researcher’s findings will add to what is already known about the factors that influence attitudes and perceptions towards COVID-19 vaccination uptake among ethnic minorities although there is a need for further research on the topic with a large population and a random sampling method for representation of a population.