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UB partnered with the International Institute and Erie County Department of Health to develop 15 downloadable infographics that explain COVID-19 vaccines. (Graphic courtesy of the University at Buffalo)
UB partnered with the International Institute and Erie County Department of Health to develop 15 downloadable infographics that explain COVID-19 vaccines. (Graphic courtesy of the University at Buffalo)

Tackling vaccine hesitancy in 15 languages

Submitted

Mon, Jun 7th 2021 01:45 pm

By the University at Buffalo

In an effort to help explain how the COVID-19 vaccines were developed and how a vaccine works, the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the International Institute of Buffalo and the Erie County Department of Health collaborated on the creation of a downloadable infographic. The infographic is available in 15 languages, thanks to translation by the International Institute.

The goal, says CTSI Director Timothy F. Murphy, M.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute, is to ensure that clear, accurate vaccine information is available to all members of the community.

“An important underlying reason for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is lack of access to reliable information about the vaccines,” Murphy explains. “Reaching community members who speak languages other than English with clear, understandable and reliable information will be enormously valuable in addressing vaccine hesitancy.”

May Shogan, the International Institute’s director of international exchanges and education department, says that many refugees and immigrants face language and cultural barriers when trying to access the health system. This made providing accessible vaccine material vitally important.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic started, the number of cases among marginalized and minority groups, which include the refugee population, were high, and there were a lot of speculations about the vaccine among many people in the refugee and immigrant communities,” she says. “As advocates for our clients, we wanted to make sure that the foreign-born population has equal access to the health information that was shared with the public. So, the International Institute worked with the CTSI to translate a vaccine infographic into many languages, and we helped in disseminating this information in the community.”

Adds Erie County Commissioner of Health Gale Burstein, M.D.: “From a public health perspective, we need to reach as many people as possible with factual information that answers questions and addresses concerns. This multilingual infographic explains how COVID-19 vaccines were developed, and will serve as a very practical resource for our community.”

The infographic is now available for download in the following languages:

Arabic

Bengali

Burmese

Chinese

Dari

English

French

Karen

Kinyarwanda

Nepali

Somali

Spanish

Swahili

Tigrinya

Vietnamese

In addition to information about the COVID-19 vaccine, the infographic also includes a series of questions to ask of a health care provider or pharmacist. For additional COVID-19 vaccine resources, visit UB’s COVID-19 vaccine guidance website.

Shogan says collaborations between the International Institute and centers like the CTSI are helping to ensure the foreign-born population “is represented and included in research and discussions that would help them have equal access to the health system and would improve their health and well-being. It is important to team up with the experts, and be part of a group that includes members from different agencies and different backgrounds so we can do a better job at assessing the challenges this community faces, addressing the needs and contributing to the process of making valuable and long-lasting changes.”

Murphy adds that the CTSI’s partnership with the International Institute of Buffalo “is a wonderful example of how partnering with an influential community organization can be of great benefit to our broader community.”

For more information about the infographic, call 716-829-2502 or email [email protected].

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