BSC Multicultural Services (BSCMS), an award-winning charity based in Ipswich, has been working closely with Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and local ethnic minority groups and communities to organise vaccination sessions, aimed particularly at disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the communities. As a result, around 500 people of Asian, African, Chinese, Turkish, Middle Eastern and Eastern European backgrounds have already been vaccinated. This initiative was important for both BME people and the NHS as Covid-19 has affected members of these communities more than the wider population.
BSCMS proactively facilitated the uptake of vaccines by raising awareness and understanding of the importance of the vaccination programme, dealing openly and honestly with understandable concerns and misunderstandings about the safety of the jab, thus making it very clear to individuals and community groups that the vaccination programme was optional and non-compulsory. Such an open and transparent approach enabled BSCMS to not only engage people of a diverse background but it also reassured them. As a result, many local BME leaders and key influencers came on-board and gave their full backing to BSCMS to enable more ethnic minority people to receive the jab.
This was a partnership initiative between BSCMS, Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, NHS, local voluntary organisations and community groups in Ipswich and Suffolk. Shayra Begum, co-ordinator of the project, said, ‘We worked very hard to reach some of the most socially marginalised and isolated individuals and groups. Thanks to our excellent links and contacts with members of these communities, we were able to successfully vaccinate around 500 people so far.’ Boshor Ali, chair of BSCMS, said, ‘This is a great achievement for BSCMS. I also want to thank all our partner organisations for their help and support. We hope our initiative will now encourage other BME people to come forward to receive their jabs.’