Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation and Misconceptions – Join the discussion

A panel discussion to address Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy, concerns and misconceptions is taking place on Wednesday 15 September, 12 – 1:30pm via StreamYard.

Following an introduction from chair Natalie Darko, Associate Professor at the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, the event will consist of four speed lectures delivered by Coral Tonna, Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences; Adrian Palfreeman, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Leicester’s Hospitals; Fayyaz Suleman, Chair of the Leicester Council of Faiths; and Natalie Darko, followed by a panel discussion and a Q&A session.

Each participant will draw on their area of knowledge, expertise or community engagement to discuss vaccine misconceptions and hesitancy, including amongst ‘hard to reach’ groups. They will also broaden understanding around faith-based vaccine concerns and encourage vaccine uptake by highlighting where and how to access the vaccine. In addition, they will discuss the role of the vaccine in keeping ourselves, our families and our communities safe.

Those attending the virtual event are welcome to ask questions in the chat, which will be addressed by the panel.



What will the panel event provide?

  • Authoritative and credible information from a variety of experts regarding the Covid-19 vaccine
  • Challenging misinformation and misconceptions that may prevent staff and students from taking the vaccine
  • Address legitimate concerns (including any faith-based concerns) and speak honestly about hesitancy in BAME groups
  • Time to ask questions of the panel of experts
  • Find out where to access the vaccine

How to sign up

You can sign up to the event by emailing the Events Office at, following which a link to join will be sent to you 24 hours before the event starts. You can register up to 11am on 15 September.

For those unable to attend live, the event will be recorded and made available to watch back at a later date.

Panel members

Dr Coral Tonna, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Coral Tonna is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at De Montfort University.

Dr Natalie Darko, Associate Professor Research, Stephen Lawrence Research Centre

Dr Natalie Darko is an Associate Professor at the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre. Prior to this, she was Research Fellow and Academic Research Lead at the NIHR Applied Research Care (ARC) East Midlands Centre for Ethnic Health. She also spent 11 years as Senior Lecturer of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Darko is an experienced academic and researcher and has been working in higher education for over 15 years, leading on national and international research exploring health inequalities, ethnicity and race.

She has completed various research projects for public, private and voluntary sector organisations including the Lilly, Antigua and Barbuda Ministries of Education and Sport, the International Olympic Committee, Sport England, NIHR, Bangladesh Youth & Cultural Shomiti Centre, the Ministerial DEFRA, Leicester City Council, Leicester City Commissioning Group, the Academic Health Sciences Network, Genomics England, the NHS and Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO).

Natalie specialises in research and practice that addresses equality, equity, diversity and inclusion of ethnic minority groups in the UK. She has extensive experience in supporting researchers and health practitioners on how to capture the seldom heard voices of ethnic minority groups, and how to work collaboratively to inform equitable health and research practice.

Dr Adrian Palfreeman, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Leicester’s Hospitals

Dr Adrian Palfreeman is Honorary Reader within the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation in the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology at the University of Leicester, as well as Consultant in HIV Medicine within University Hospitals of Leicester.

Fayyaz Suleman, Chair of Leicester Council of Faiths

Fayyaz Suleman is an experienced and respected community enabler who has worked for over 20 years to build bridges between different faith and ethnic communities, as well as non-faith communities.

With his expertise in charity governance and strategic insight and his grassroots links with many of the diverse (including hard to reach) communities of Leicestershire, Fayyaz has played a pivotal role in enhancing the work and profile of the Leicester Council of Faiths and supporting a strategic approach to building social and community cohesion. With his dedication to bring people together and build harmony at different levels, he has taken a leading role to diffuse tensions and take a united approach to dealing with events that undermine the unity of the communities of Leicestershire.

He has also led efforts for local NHS, local Councils, local Police and other stakeholders to ensure that faith communities are fully engaged in informing and shaping service delivery. He has previously served as a Non-Executive director in various public sector and third sector organisations including Leicester City NHS, Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, Places for People, Community & Economic Development Agency and Grazrootz.

Professionally, Fayyaz runs Fusion Consulting Services, a consultancy firm responsible for registering and supporting the development of over 300 charities working to benefit all sections of society here in the UK and abroad. He has been actively involved in various advisory groups.

Posted on Monday 6th September 2021

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