School of Law student helping to promote trust in Covid-19 vaccine in BAME communities

Third year LLB student Sana Mahmood is taking part in the Covid Lead Leadership Programme.

The Covid Lead Leadership Programme is made up of young BAME people from across Bradford and District aged between 18-24, who work with health professionals and communities to promote real-life stories and document lived experiences through Covid-19.

The Programme has attracted media coverage from across the UK and the wider world with Australia’s SBS Channel following the impact of the course for a documentary due to be aired in May.

We spoke to Sana about her involvement in the Covid Lead Leadership Programme, the importance of the Programme and how it relates to her studies in the School of Law.

Can you tell us about your involvement in the Covid Lead Leadership Programme?

Since December 2020, I have been taking part in an accredited leadership programme and have been learning more about Covid-19, vaccine hesitancy and the impact it has had on the BAME community. After several community conversations, sessions led by industry experts and my own research, I had the opportunity to present a policy paper alongside my peers to the Vaccine Deployment Minister, Nadhim Zahawi MP, and Dr Julie Yates, a Senior Clinician at Public Health England.

In the policy paper, we highlighted key issues such as misinformation, overcrowding and the lack of BAME individuals involved in research and proposed several solutions to combat them. It was great to have such positive feedback from the Minister himself and was a fantastic experience.

How are you helping to challenge the misconceptions of Covid-19?

I have been interviewed for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, Channel 5 News and the BBC Asian Network. I spoke about how the pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities that exist already within society. Also, there is not enough information provided by the government in a language that people within some BAME communities understand. As a result, misinformation can be easily spread which could mean people are less likely to trust the vaccine.

How does this relate to your studies at the School of Law?

I am currently studying the State of Emergency: Social science and the COVID-19 pandemic module. This module was introduced in 2020 and explores the role that social science has in understanding the pandemic and government and community responses to the crisis, which is very relevant to my involvement with the Covid Lead Leadership Programme. For example, the module explores fake news and inequalities which really ties in with the Covid Lead Leadership Programme.

Find out more about the Programme.