In December 2020, we polled a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults to assess the public’s confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and identify ways to increase the uptake. To achieve the coverage needed to realise herd immunity in every community across the UK, it is vital that we understand where vaccine hesitancy is most prevalent.

Our polling showed three in four (76%) of the UK public would take a COVID-19 vaccine if advised to do so by their GP or health professional. But uptake was significantly lower among amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) respondents and those from lower socioeconomic grades - precisely those groups who face an elevated infection risk and, for BAME communities, a disproportionately high mortality rate from Covid-19.

  • 84% of people in managerial and professional occupations said they would take the vaccine compared to 70% of those in unskilled/ semi-skilled manual occupations or unemployed.
  • 79% of White respondents said they would get the COVID-19 vaccine compared to 57% of BAME respondents.

This paper reports these findings in more detail, and argues that further research must be undertaken into the causes of vaccine hesitancy among all ethnic communities in the UK, looking in greater detail at individual communities than the ONS ethnicity categories allow. This will require greater community engagement to understand the concerns of those from BAME backgrounds, working in partnership with the voluntary sector and supporting champions from each community to encourage uptake of the vaccine.