We recently launched a public engagement campaign about COVID-19 vaccines to raise the expert voice of the immunology community in public discussions. The 'Vaccine engagement starts at home' initiative is based on providing our members with the necessary support to engage with the public around vaccination and become positive ambassadors. Here, we feature our useful resources, including our vaccination guide on COVID-19 vaccines for the public, highlight the informative Q&As we have been developing with our members and showcase some brilliant examples of public engagement activities from our members.
Helping you engage with the public around COVID-19 vaccines
BSI members and the wider research community are ideally placed to be expert sources of knowledge in public discussions about COVID-19 vaccination. But, getting started in these conversations can seem daunting. To help you get started, we have collated a variety of great resources from the BSI to support you in raising your voice. These resources are free for everyone and we encourage BSI members to use these materials as part of their public engagement activities. You can access all of our resources here.
If you’re looking for effective ways of engaging with the public, we recommend watching our webinar on COVID-19 vaccine conversations. Professor Sheena Cruickshank (University of Manchester) and Dr Matt Morgan (University Hospital of Wales) discuss their experiences of engaging with the public and answer questions on how to listen to and address people’s concerns on vaccines, deal with uncertainty and have constructive conversations about vaccination. Watch the live recording here.
We have also put together some top tips for approaching these conversations to build your confidence to talk about vaccines for COVID-19 with a wide range of audiences in a context of public engagement e.g. during a science-festival related activity, online engagement on social media, talking to family and friends and sharing information with communities. Read our top tips here.
At the British Society for Immunology, we aim to provide reliable, evidence-based information on COVID-19 vaccines and immunity to everyone who needs or wants it. Our new guide for the public explains how vaccines work, answers common questions and concerns and provides up-to-date information on the current approved COVID-19 vaccinations in the UK. For example, it looks into the ingredients of COVID-19 vaccines, how the vaccines have been developed so quickly without compromising safety, why two doses are needed and specific information about the vaccines currently approved in the UK. We'd like to encourage our members and the immunology community to download and share this guide. You can download the guide here.
BSI President, Professor Arne Akbar, said:
The BSI is a community of 4,000 immunologists but we’re also a community of 4,000 vaccine ambassadors. Ensuring good uptake of COVID-19 vaccines is going to be crucial in the coming months and, as immunologists, we can all play our part in having constructive conversations to increase public understanding of the importance of vaccination.
Shining a spotlight on members who are speaking out about vaccines
Our 'Vaccine engagement starts...' series showcases examples of how BSI members are COVID-19 vaccine ambassadors. Our hope is that, through highlighting a range of the wonderful and impactful activities our members have been carrying out, others will be inspired to begin engaging with the public on vaccines. There are many different ways to be a positive role model for vaccination. You can start with the people around you, like your family and friends, or reach out to wider communities. You might want to have conversations face-to-face or may be more comfortable in a virtual setting. Maybe you’re looking to hone your writing skills or you fancy stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new? Explore these case studies to find inspiration.
Calling on our members to become COVID-19 vaccine ambassadors
We're looking for a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds and all career levels to help us reach and engage diverse communities. We have set up a short survey to gather key details that will help us connect the right people to relevant activities in the future. The more people involved, the bigger an impact we can make. We would like to encourage you to consider taking part and join our mission to increase public understanding of the importance of vaccination. To be included in the volunteer COVID-19 vaccine ambassador database, please fill out the survey here.
Find out more
Explore our public engagement campaign ‘Vaccine engagement starts at home’. We’re always looking for members to help bring the expert immunology voice so if you'd like to get involved, don't hesitate to contact our Public Engagement Manager, Erika Aquino, at firstname.lastname@example.org.