Sudbury research group develops materials to help vaccine-hesitant
Videos, brochures, posters, even placemats are being made available to workplaces and workers in need of some helpful tips when it comes to COVID-19.
It's the brainchild of Laurentian University's Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) which started the initiative with funding from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
"We got some support to help address vaccine confidence in northern Ontario," said project coordinator Tobias Mankis. "And to kind of engage with northern Ontario workplaces and to see how we can help become more confident in the COVID-19 vaccines and in community immunity."
Mankis said the mandate at CROSH is to help workers get home safely every day so they created a website with their material.
It includes access to their specially made videos and allows workplaces to request free print materials to be delivered or shipped to them across all of northern Ontario.
"What we want to do is step up and do our part to help workplaces and help communities and that's how we kind of got started in this project," Mankis said.
Among the seven topics, some include 'how can I talk about COVID-19 with the people I care about?', 'how did we develop the COVID-19 vaccines so efficiently?', and 'how does COVID-19 spread from person to person?'
"We started out by interviewing a number of public health units, civic representatives, and community leaders to get a sense of what they were hearing from their communities, on why folks were not getting vaccinated, what their concerns were and how they were feeling about COVID-19," said content lead and CROSH sessional instructor Michelle Reid.
Reid said they tried to develop the materials in a way that was clear and concise with numbers that are easy to understand. The numbers also represent the 'northern' experience.
She adds all of the numbers they used are clearly outlined in every one of their references.
"So individuals can dive into all the resources themselves and look a little deeper if they have further questions," Reid said.
Businesses have already started reaching out for materials.
It's been an eye-opening experience for 2nd year Laurentian Student Marja Frederiksen.
"When I dropped off some material at a business, the young woman who received it kind of just stood there for a moment and looked at the contents and said 'wow, this is really amazing,' and she got a bit emotional saying 'my Mom is vaccine-hesitant and we've been fighting about this for a while now," Frederiksen told CTV News.
Mankis said they'll continue to keep this going, at least for the foreseeable future.
"That's really what we want to do. We're not going to solve all the problems. We just want to help kind of nudge it in the right direction and do our part to make things a little better," he said.
All of the materials are being made available in the two official languages, both English and French.