It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities in America — and that these communities mistrust vaccinations overall.
According to the CDC, African Americans are 1.1 times more likely to be infected by the virus, and 2.9 times more likely to be hospitalized than white people. Meanwhile, Hispanics and Latinos have a 1.3 times higher risk for infection and a 3.1 higher hospitalization rate, while Native American communities are at the highest risk.
Exacerbating the issue, BIPOC communities have expressed distrust of COVID-19 vaccines, and are therefore less likely to be vaccinated.
Trinity Health, a not-for-profit Catholic healthcare system with 92 hospitals across 22 states, launched “It Starts Here,” a campaign in collaboration with creative agency Ayni Brigade, to encourage hesitant BIPOC communities to get vaccinated and combat vaccine misinformation.
The campaign leverages BIPOC social media influencers, radio and grassroots organizations and churches to provide information on COVID vaccine production, efficacy and availability in 14 underserved regions across the nation, including in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
“There have been [concerns] around how the vaccine was created, [whether it was created] too fast, among other fears,” Julie Washington, CMO of Trinity Health said. “We needed to unpack the science in a way that was understandable.”
Trinity Health created uniform graphics for Trinity Health hospitals, influencers and community grassroots organizations to share on social media to dispel some of these myths about the vaccine’s safety, side effects and efficacy.
The hospital network also launched a $1.1 million community health grant for local grassroots organizations in these communities to get the word out through flyers and door-to-door efforts.
“We wanted to make sure [information was accessible] to vulnerable members of our communities that may not have access to digital capabilities,” Washington said.
Trinity Health is expecting to launch its radio efforts in April. As of March 29, the hospital network has administered nearly 709,000 vaccines in their communities.