VaccChat: Local businesses to talk with customers about COVID-19 vaccine

Staff from local businesses across Greater Manchester are being encouraged to chat to clients about the COVID-19 vaccine to help reduce misinformation as part of a new drive led by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

Health chiefs have produced special cue cards for workers such as hairdressers, barbers and beauticians which outline facts about the vaccine so these can be shared in conversations with members of the public.

The campaign comes after the worry that false information about the vaccine is still spreading both online and off.

However, half a million jabs were booked in just five hours after eligibility widened to those aged between 25 and 29 on Tuesday 8 June.

Patrick Scrivens, a self-employed barber from Town Barber Too in Oldham Market is taking part in the new project and said: “Most of our customers come in wanting a chat and I love that about my job. It’s amazing the things people tell you!

“Our regulars often talk to us about things they’d probably never tell their family and friends. It’s a real privilege to have their trust and I take it seriously.

“Over the past year or so, more than ever, people want to talk about what’s going on in the world and what’s in the news. Covid-19 affects us all so everyone has an opinion. But that’s why it’s so important to get accurate and reliable information and talk things through.”

Christine Khiroya, immunisations and screening lead at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, added: “We have created the VaccChat campaign as a way of providing the facts about the Covid-19 vaccination directly to younger people, in a different, more accessible way – via trusted contacts working in frontline professions such as hairdressers, barbers and beauticians.

“We hope that by providing the facts in a straight-talking and friendly way we can positively influence everyday conversations about the vaccine.”

There have now been in excess of 2.6 million vaccinations across Greater Manchester, with more than 1.6 million being first doses and more than 1 million second doses.

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