Madelynne Arden, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology at Sheffield Hallam University, is the lead author on the guidance published by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
This guidance offers advice on what to do after getting your first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine, which has now been given to more than 24 million people in the UK according to recent government figures. It advises people to continue to adopt the disease prevention behaviours put in place by the government, as well as taking the second dose of the vaccine when it is offered to help keep individuals and communities safe.
The Covid-19 Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention (BSDP) Taskforce was set up last summer by BPS to help provide guidance for policy-makers around the world, led by Angel Chater – Professor in health Psychology and Behaviour Change at the University of Bedfordshire. Together, the BSDP Taskforce members, including Professor Arden, have produced the guidance and they will distribute the information to public health teams, vaccination centres and GP surgeries across the nation to help in the fight against Covid-19.
Professor Arden said: “Every day we are seeing and hearing of more and more people receiving a Covid-19 vaccine which is excellent news and a really encouraging step on the path out of this pandemic. But recent evidence from the Office for National Statistics suggests that two out of five people broke lockdown regulations in the three-week period following their first vaccination dose and that puts them and their communities at risk.
“It is important that we continue being diligent with all the behaviours we have adopted this last year, such as good hand hygiene, face coverings, and social-distancing, so that we can work together to reduce levels of infection and get life going again. This guidance supports government advice, and we hope that it will be used to provide people with accessible, clear information when and where they receive their first vaccination”
Professor Angel Chater, Health Psychologist with Bedfordshire’s School of Sport Science and Physical Activity and Chair of the BSDP Taskforce, said: “Professor Arden has played an integral role in the British Psychological Society COVID-19 Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce. Her links within the public health system have been invaluable in ensuring that the guidance that we are producing meets the needs of those who would benefit from it.
“Health Psychologists are experts in behaviour change and take a holistic view of health and illness. We take into consideration the biological, psychological, social and environmental factors that may influence health and illness, and use evidence-based theoretical models to understand and optimise health behaviours, health outcomes and strengthen the health care system. As Chair of the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology I couldn’t be prouder of the profession and how it has supported the COVID-19 response.”
This year Professor Arden has led work for the BPS Covid-19 Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce on integrating behavioural science into the Covid-19 test and trace app and support for self-isolation. On the back of this work, as well as other projects, she was conferred as a fellow of the prestigious Academy of Social Sciences.