Most of B.C.'s messaging on COVID-19 has been in English, but a series of multilingual videos is hoping to reach a different audience to encourage vaccine uptake.
The series, produced by the Vernon and District Immigrant and Community Services Society, features videos in Arabic, Mandarin, Punjabi and Spanish that are available on the organization's YouTube channel.
Amelia Sirianni, a programming co-ordinator with the society, says it chose the languages based on newcomers who had come to Vernon, B.C., and communities for whom English might be a barrier.
"There are communities where English might be a larger barrier for them so we'd really like to give them videos in their language so that we know that everyone is getting that clear messaging and understanding on how do I do this? How do I register for a vaccine?" said Sirianni.
Siranni said the group worked with Interior Health to make sure the messaging was accurate, and shot the videos with the help of professionals with the Vernon District Performing Arts Centre.
WATCH | A video introducing the society's campaign:
The videos centre around a broad question — "Who do you miss?" — as a way of communicating the information in a more creative way.
"It's hard for me to connect when I'm just seeing that information. [But] when we hear people's stories, we feel things. We empathize. We are more compassionate, we are more understanding and we take a minute to really listen," said Sirianni.
Sirianni said they used an online media marketing firm to help share the video online, and she says the videos have already been viewed tens of thousands of times across the Thompson-Okanagan region.
Anecdotally, she's heard feedback from some of the people who starred in the videos that they were recognized at the grocery store and that their own personal connections have started talking more about vaccination.
Sirianni says the whole project reflects the universal sense of loss from the pandemic.
"It was really beautiful to have all these members of our community open up and be vulnerable and share who they miss and their experiences and what that's done to them," she said.
"My feeling from getting to experience these stories from everyone is we all have a universal need of our friends and our family and our loved ones and that is what we have been missing so much."
As of Aug. 31, 69 per cent of Vernon residents aged 12 and up have had their second doses. That lags behind the provincial average of 77.1 per cent, as of Sept. 3.