Autism Hampshire becomes a Covid-19 Vaccination Champion

Supporting autistic people to access Covid-19 vaccinations

Autism Hampshire has been awarded a grant by Southampton City Council to become a Covid-19 Vaccination Champion.

Why do we need Vaccination Champions?

Southampton was identified as one of 60 local authorities across the country with lower vaccination rates, with around 20% of residents remaining unvaccinated. Among the reasons for this are:

  • Little or no access to the internet to book a vaccine appointment
  • Being unaware of the programme of walk-in clinics around the locality
  • Uncertainty and many questions about the vaccines

So, Vaccination Champions have been identified to work within the community to assist people in accessing information about Covid-19 vaccines. A Vaccination Champion helps people to understand the vaccination process, thereby helping them to make informed decisions about vaccination.

Covid-19 vaccination uptake has been low within the autistic community, as anxiety, communication and sensory needs can often be a barrier for people getting a vaccine.

How can Autism Hampshire help?

The grant to Autism Hampshire is paying for a five-month project to promote and increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake to the autistic community in Southampton and the wider area.

To promote Covid-19 vaccination uptake, we are:

  • Holding a minimum of three specific workshops within our Serendipity Group programme, inviting outside speakers, such as an NHS nurse, to present and hold a Q&A session with our members and wider autistic community.
  • Promoting awareness through the production and distribution of easy-read information leaflets, posts on social media and articles on our website to our community, including our Serendipity Groups and our IAG service.
  • Producing an accessible information video to promote uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine using our ongoing partnership with Autek, which will be circulated to our Serendipity groups and IAG clients, and be available on our social media and website.

The easy-read information can be found through this link.

What barriers to vaccination do we aim to address? 

Covid-19 has affected autistic people in many ways, and we are now seeing more people who are socially isolated, having retreated further away from their community services and health care providers during lockdown. Our project will ensure that our autistic community is given appropriate advice and guidance about the Covid-19 vaccine, in an accessible manner that addresses their specific concerns, with the aim of reducing their anxieties and giving them the confidence to attend their vaccination appointments.

For more information, please contact:

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