Bishops and black majority church leaders target Covid-19 vaccine misinformation

The vaccination hub at Lichfield Cathedral

Church and other faith leaders have joined forces with the NHS to tackle misinformation around the Covid-19 vaccine.

Vaccinations are front and centre of the Government's efforts to beat Covid-19, with over 10 million people across the UK having now received at least the first dose. 

Yet NHS England has expressed concern that uptake of the vaccine appears to be lower among minority ethnic groups.

A recent poll of 2,000 UK adults by the Royal Society for Public Health found that three quarters (76%) were willing to have the covid vaccine, but this fell significantly to 57% among minority ethnic backgrounds.

The Give Hope campaign, organised by YourNeighbour, is being backed by church leaders from across the Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army, Baptist, Pentecostal, evangelical and Black Majority Churches and denominations.

People waiting in line for their vaccine at Salisbury Cathedral
Cathedrals have been playing their part in the fightback against the pandemic by acting as vaccination hubs.

The campaign aimes to eradicate distrust and fake news surrounding the vaccine, and has been launched at a time when many churches and cathedrals across the country have opened their doors as vaccination hubs for the NHS. 

As part of the campaign, church leaders are being encouraged to initiate a more balanced conversation around the vaccine with their congregations and local communities.

The vaccination hub at Salisbury Cathedral
Rose Hudson-Wilkin (l) is pleading with black and minority ethnic communities to take the vaccine. Seen here with the Archbishop of Canterbury who has received the first dose.(Photo: Graham Lacdao/St Paul's Cathedral)

Church leaders getting behind the campaign include the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, Pastor Agu Irukwu of Jesus House, the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, and Salvation Army Commissioner Anthony Cotterill.

Russ Rook, co-founder of YourNeighbour commented, said, "Over the coming months, we will be supporting Christian leaders and activists to change the narrative around the Covid-19 vaccines in their communities.

"By helping to communicate directly with hard to reach groups that may miss out, facilitating clear and kind conversations with some who may be reticent and providing practical support to those who need it, UK churches are playing a vital role in our country's recovery from Covid-19."

NHS staff at the Salisbury Cathedral vaccination hub

Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin is pleading with black and minority ethnic communities to take the vaccine.

"When you are offered the opportunity to get your Covid vaccination, I want you to take it," she said.

"There are distracting voices in our black and minority ethnic communities spreading doubt and alarm. And while I understand the fear and concern, listening to those voices alone will rob us of the need to live flourishing lives with our families and friends.

"These vaccines offer us a path through the pandemic, giving us hope, strength and the chance of safety. If the vaccine was good enough for Her Majesty, then it is good enough for us."

Resources to help church leaders engage with their communities in the conversation can be found at