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Language: English / GĂ idhlig


Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-01506
Asked by: Claire Baker, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 15 July 2021


To ask the Scottish Government what measures it has taken to address any COVID-19 vaccine-hesitancy that Polish people in Scotland might have.

Current status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 23 August 2021


The Scottish Government has set up a National Vaccine Inclusive Steering Group with representatives from Health Boards, faith groups, third and community sector, and works closely with BEMIS, the national umbrella body supporting the development of the Ethnic Minorities Voluntary Sector in Scotland, and regularly participates in the Ethnic Minority National Resilience Group (EMNRG), which includes organisations representing the Polish Community.

Polish is one of the primary languages as set out by Public Health Scotland, and Polish translations have been prioritised for all coronavirus-related guidance, which has included regularly updated translations on NHS Inform, Strategic Framework updates on and Polish translations of all National door drops. This is shared via SG Marketing, SG Policy, NHS 24 and via a number of stakeholders, to reach Polish communities.

Provision of messages/ guidance has been made to Polish community organisations in order to appropriately translate and share in language more likely to elicit action within the context of Polish culture/language. An explainer video for minority ethnic communities – tackling barriers – translated into Polish was developed as part of the Phase 2 campaign deliverables targeted at 18-49 year olds, which looks to address barriers to vaccine uptake identified by ME communities. The explainer video was produced in multiple languages including Polish, and provides key facts about the Covid vaccines for those who may be hesitant, or for those more likely to have been exposed to myths/misinformation. The content of this video has been shaped by engagement with BEMIS and the Ethnic Minority National Resilience Group, which includes input from the Polish community. This video has been distributed via partnership channels and via stakeholders to those groups who may not be as likely to be reached by traditional media.

FENIKS have been awarded funding via the Scottish Government award to BEMIS, for additional translations of Coronavirus vaccine information/materials into Polish. Feniks was set up in 2007 as a charity supporting integration and aiming at improving the wellbeing of the Central Eastern European Community in Edinburgh. It seeks to help individuals and families who have moved away from their homeland in facing the challenges which can result from immigration.

A live Q+A session was held online 6 July 2021 with Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, with the session chaired by Feniks. Key questions were gathered beforehand from members of the community, including issues causing some hesitancy, for example on vaccine efficacy and safety. The session was also translated live. The Scottish Government is continuing to support the work of Feniks on providing information and increasing uptake of Covid vaccine.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) are supporting the work of health boards including work continuing in local health board areas with the Polish community, including targeting workforces and large employers, including food processing.