In partnership with Bytes for All, Grand Synergy Development Initiative and Verité Research, for this final report, Minority Rights Group International analyzed trust, uptake and access to the Covid-19 vaccine among indigenous Amazighs in Algeria, Somalis Muslims and other local minorities and indigenous communities in Kenya, religious minorities in Pakistan and Tamil and Muslim communities in Sri Lanka.
Our mixed-methods approach is based on evaluating the information gathered in each context with two methods:
- The first method involved the use of social media listening and monitoring tools, including CrowdTangle.
- The second method served to triangulate the results of social media monitoring and was different for each context: a large-scale face-to-face survey in Sri Lanka, 30 radio broadcasts in various locations in Kenya, 13 citizen journalism articles from different parts of Pakistan. , and four focus groups (FGD) with participants in Algeria or involving representatives of the diaspora.
In all of the venues we analyzed, misinformation was being spread among majority and minority communities through social media and word of mouth, which affected trust levels.
- When the data is disaggregated by ethnicity, language and religion, potentially large differences emerge that may help explain the residual pockets of unvaccination in Sri Lanka, or the fivefold difference in vaccination rates in different parts of Kenya.
- Although reported access issues were low, they were higher among minority communities and, in some cases, unique to the experiences of minority communities, such as in Pakistan and Algeria.
- Trust and access as factors influencing vaccination were secondary to a pre-existing problem – distrust of authorities, which is generally high among the majority and minority population. In the case of Sri Lanka, however, it is higher among minority communities, and in Kenya the results demonstrate a fundamental breakdown in the relationship of trust between the community and health workers, health authorities and political authorities more wide.
- On the other hand, evidence shows that community and religious figures play a vital role in building trust in vaccines and countering misinformation, indicating their importance in health-related efforts and in building inclusiveness and accessibility among minorities.
This research shows that a one-size-fits-all approach does not consider religion, language and ethnicity, and therefore risks being partially ineffective and leaving groups behind. In the era of the Sustainable Development Goals, such an approach is outdated and inconsistent with international commitments made by all UN member states.
Our research suggests that a nationwide effort can yield little results and that a more effective approach would be to invest in local level efforts, with the visible participation of trusted health professionals, religious leaders and others not associated with national politics, thereby reducing the risk. of information being ignored or ignored due to high levels of mistrust.
This newsletter was published as part of MRG’s Diversity: Impact on Vaccine Equality (DIVE) program (2021-2022).