Hackney teachers develop vaccine learning pack for students across London

Josephine Casey, the first Hackney residents to get the vaccine. It is hoped that young people will speak to their older relatives about getting the vaccine as a result of new lessons.

Hackney teachers have developed a learning pack about the Covid-19 vaccination that is now being distributed across London to reassure young people about the safety of the vaccine and encourage them to speak to older relatives about getting it. 

The teachers at Stoke Newington School developed the learning materials with input from students and public health professions. 

While the majority of young Londoners say they would accept a Covid-19 vaccine, some are hesitant. Insight work in Hackney and across London has shown that younger people are more likely to have concerns or believe misinformation about the Covid vaccine.

The learning resources include PowerPoint presentations with detailed teaching notes and embedded videos, which can be found on the Hackney Education website. 

Umbrella organisation London Councils has now distributed the materials to all boroughs in London, who can share the materials with local primary and secondary school. 

Research carried out by Hackney Council as part of the boroughs’ collaborative ‘Keep London Safe’ campaign shows that young Londoners are significantly more uncertain about the Covid-19 vaccine compared to older age groups. Hackney’s survey of attitudes towards receiving a vaccine found 7% of those aged 16-24 would “definitely not” get vaccinated and 21% were “unsure”. By contrast, only 8% of respondents aged 75 and older were “unsure” – and none in this age group said they would definitely not get it. 

This chimes with additional research seen by London boroughs suggesting that those who rely most heavily on social media for news and information – rather than traditional news sources such as newspapers – are more likely to be sceptical about vaccines. 

It is hoped that, after learning about the vaccine in schools, young people will speak to older relatives and reassure them about its safety. This is backed up by experience from previous public health campaigns, on subjects such as smoking and seatbelt wearing, which have shown that young people can be powerful advocates when it comes to influencing the health behaviours of older family members.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor
We’re doing all we can to work with our communities to reassure them about the safety of the vaccine and promote take up.

This incredible work by teachers at Stoke Newington School builds on the research we’ve carried out with young Londoners. It aims to explain the safety of the vaccine, bring the science of it to life, and enable young people to discuss their concerns with teachers.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor
While many of my pupils are highly enthusiastic about the vaccine, there are undoubtedly pupils who are more hesitant. This can be for all sorts of reasons – some just don’t know enough about vaccines, while others may have misconceptions about them.

We have developed the learning materials with the help of pupils at our school. These resources are designed to improve pupils’ understanding of why the Covid-19 vaccination programme is so important.  Through examining the scientific principles behind vaccination and an analysis of how the Covid-19 vaccines have been developed, we’re working to raise awareness and support for London’s vaccine roll-out.
Jesse Hershkowitz, Head of Science at Stoke Newington School
Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils
This initiative is a crucial part of our ongoing work to tackle misinformation and to help Londoners understand the importance of vaccination – which is key to keeping us all safe and eventually bringing this crisis to an end. 

Schools are playing a pivotal role in raising awareness of how vaccines work, answering young people’s questions, and turning them away from dangerous anti-vax misinformation. We want young Londoners to feel reassured and supportive when their parents and grandparents are offered a Covid-19 vaccine by the NHS. We know from our role in organising stop smoking campaigns how influential children and young people can be on their parents’ health choices.
Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health England
Young Londoners have the potential to be important ambassadors for vaccination and these learning materials are a great resource to build their understanding about this lifesaving public health intervention. 

Making sure young people are well-informed by trusted sources is the perfect way to empower their decision-making and enable them to confidently share accurate information through their own networks. Understanding the process of developing vaccines, how they work and why they're safe and effective is vital for everyone. Young people often feel left out of important conversations, so the fact that these materials were developed with their input is brilliant.
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health England

London boroughs are working in close partnership with the NHS to support the successful roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the capital. Boroughs are using their local knowledge and community leadership to promote vaccine take-up among all of London’s diverse communities – including through mobilising volunteers, organising community champions, and providing access to hard-to-reach groups who aren’t necessarily registered with a GP.