The London Borough of Havering: Using the COM-B framework to develop a vaccine take up strategy

Adopted a systematic approach to encourage vaccine take up.

This is part of a series of case-studies published on 20 April 2021.


Whilst the majority of people are eager to get vaccinated, there is a significant minority that is hesitant. Vaccine hesitancy is a complex issue which has to be addressed on a number of fronts.


The London Borough of Havering has adopted a systematic approach to encourage vaccine take up. They used the COM-B model [Add link to M1.4 COM-B template to understand vaccine hesitancy] as a foundation for developing an overarching strategy to address vaccine hesitancy. The COM-B model is a framework that highlights three main levers that can lead to behaviour change. According to this framework, people are more likely to perform a behaviour if they have the:

  1. capability (skills, ability and knowledge),
  2. the opportunity (the social and physical environment make a certain behaviour possible)
  3. the motivation (impulses, habits, needs or intentions).


The application of the COM-B framework helped the council develop a number of initiatives. Taken together these initiatives address the three main factors required to change behaviour and increase vaccine uptake:   Capability The council is raising awareness on the benefits and risks of COVID-19 vaccines by:

  1. Delivering communications that emphasise accurate information about the vaccine.
  2. Organising online public meetings for residents with the council's chief medical consultant and other health authorities attending.
  3. Sharing stories of local people that got vaccinated.
  4. Training volunteer ambassadors to disseminate information, address resident’s concerns and support them with scheduling their vaccine.


The council is improving access to vaccination by 1) influencing the location of vaccination sites based on their local knowledge; 2) providing information on transport options and offering free parking at vaccination sites; and 3) encouraging residents that have already received their vaccine to bring along their peers. 


The council is prompting people’s motivation to get vaccinated by:

  1. Launching a campaign called “Better Days Ahead”. The goal of the campaign to give confidence for a brighter future and to frame the vaccine as the main way out of the crisis.
  2. Providing rewards to those that get vaccinated in the form of social recognition and memorable badges.

Key learning

Vaccine hesitancy is a complex issue and has to be addressed from multiple fronts. The COM-B model sheds light on the three main areas to focus on. 

Quick wins

Below are some quick wins that Havering has applied:

  • Use ‘vaccine champions’ to encourage their peers to get vaccinated. 
  • Share stories of people that got vaccinated. This helps establish a social norm around vaccination and motivate others to do the same. 
  • Involve trusted health authorities when organising  online FAQ sessions or events to address resident’s concerns and correct misinformation. 

Contact: Victoria Rowland