Vaccination saves lives and can be an effective strategy for preventing the spread of the COVID-19, but negative attitudes towards vaccines lead to vaccine hesitancy. This study aimed to explore the factors influencing the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Nepali community in the United Kingdom (UK). This qualitative study included in-depth interviews with 20 people from Nepal living in the UK. Interviews were conducted by a native-Nepali speaker and all interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and translated into English before being analysed thematically. Our study found that attitudes towards COVID-19 are generally positive. Nine overlapping themes around barriers to COVID-19 vaccination were identified: (a) rumours and mis/disinformation; (b) prefer home remedies and yoga; (c) religion restriction; (d) concern towards vaccine eligibility; (e) difficulty with online vaccine booking system; (f) doubts of vaccine effectiveness after changing the second dose timeline; (g) lack of confidence in the vaccine; (h) past bad experience with the influenza vaccine; and (i) worried about side-effects. Understanding barriers to the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine can help in the design of better targeted interventions. Public health messages including favourable policy should be tailored to address those barriers and make this vaccination programme more viable and acceptable to the ethnic minority communities in the UK.
Keywords: COVID-19; Nepali community; qualitative research; vaccine; vaccine uptake.