PAPER: Key findings from the discussions on “Building and sustaining trust in vaccines and vaccination in Roma communities”

Despite the large amount of ideas presented for possible actions to increase vaccination against Covid-19, the overall model for action that emerged from the aggregate suggestions of the participants cannot solve the vaccination problem, but it does provide guidance: 1) which are the problem areas; 2) for which activities there is no appropriate initiator and therefore, although theoretically necessary, they cannot be implemented or it is currently unknown how they can be initiated; 3) for which activities recommendations have been made to specific actors, but they have shown no willingness or initiative to implement them and it is currently unknown who can prompt them to do so.

Building and maintaining trust in vaccines and vaccination in Roma communities

During the discussion Open Society Institute – Sofia has presented the report: “Attitudes towards vaccines and vaccination against Covid-19 in five Roma communities in Bulgaria” The following topics were discussed 1) Measures and specific activities (steps) to maintain and (build) trust in existing vaccines, vaccination which is recommended and encouraged by health authorities and 2) Campaign to build trust and promote healthy behavior.

Project: “Healthcare for Everyone”

The main goal of the project is to improve the communication, resources and coordination at the local level in the implementation of health policies for marginalized communities by optimizing the health mediation system.


What do you do when a whole community struggles to access healthcare? In the 1990s the rates of tuberculosis infection were a hundred times higher amongst the Bulgarian Roma than in Western Europe. And many were dying of totally preventable diseases. The solution was to train up health mediators; members of the Roma community who act as a bridge between their neighbourhood, and doctors and the health system.


What can we learn from the health campaigns of the distant past? In the nineteen fifties, in the early days of Communism in Bulgaria, a deadly wave of tuberculosis threatened the new socialist project.