Volunteers to help encourage vaccinations in low uptake areas of Nottinghamshire

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Volunteers will help the council to encourage residents in some areas like Mansfield to get vaccinated against disease.

The project will see ‘community health and wellbeing champions’ use their networks and life experiences to ‘address community barriers to engagement, dispel myths and false information and support people to make informed choices.

Council documents state there are portions of the population in Nottinghamshire which have low vaccination uptake.

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The newly published papers also state that locally and nationally there has also been a decrease in the number of children accessing their measles, mumps and rubella and other childhood vaccines at the right time.

Council volunteers will be used to help increase vaccine uptake in areas in like HucknallCouncil volunteers will be used to help increase vaccine uptake in areas in like Hucknall
Council volunteers will be used to help increase vaccine uptake in areas in like Hucknall
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Uptake of second doses of the MMR vaccine among five-year-olds in Nottinghamshire was 90.2 per cent in 2020-21, lower than the World Health Organization’s target of 95 per cent.

A core focus of the trained volunteers will be to reach out to communities where the council currently has limited influence, such as gypsy, roma and traveller communities.

Pregnant women and the working age population will also be targeted.

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The volunteers will also be trained to look out for signs of poor mental health and signpost accordingly.

The council said: “Champions who act as key connectors within their communities have been identified as a gap for the county, which has become more apparent throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The volunteers will work with family hubs, the health and wellbeing team at the council and teams within primary care.

They will be recruited and supported by three new paid council employees, known as community health and wellbeing champion co-ordinators.

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It is proposed that the new employees would be funded partly by £96,000 from the Contain Outbreak Management Fund from the Government, which must be used before March 2023.

From April 2023, the council would fund the programme with £271,000 from the Public Health grant.

A recent Public Health England review found community champions can be effective in reducing health inequalities.

The council documents stated: “The unique value that differentiates CHWCs from the PHE-provided health and wellbeing team is that they will be recruited from the communities within which they will be engaging and will therefore offer a unique understanding of priorities, with a different level of reach and influence.”