“Voices on Vaccinations” Campaign Elevates the Conversation on COVID-19 Vaccination with Diverse Kansas Communities
In an effort to build awareness of and interest in the COVID-19 vaccine for four Kansas communities – Black, Latino, Native American, and Kansans with intellectual or developmental disabilities – the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) has partnered with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to develop “Voices on Vaccinations,” a statewide, public health campaign.
Using a facilitation guide created by KLC, champions across the state convened 67 meetings with friends, family and community members to hear their concerns, aspirations and questions surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccine distribution in Kansas. Champions shared notes from their discussions with KLC and received honoraria for their efforts. More than 800 Kansans took part in these focus groups.
“Going into this initiative, we knew that vaccine hesitancy among these impacted communities can be effectively addressed by public health campaigns that are based on empathic listening, culturally appropriate messaging and trusted, local spokespersons. We made the strategic choice to make these focus groups non-threatening and led by local community members without anyone from the state or KLC attending. We exceeded our participation goal and were blown away by the open and honest responses we heard from participants,” said Shaun Rojas, director of civic engagement for the Kansas Leadership Center.
“The Voices on Vaccinations allowed a safe space for people to share about their thoughts on vaccination. The platform welcomed conversation, resource-sharing and opened the floor for us to hear some perspectives which had not been considered before. As a community member who is trying to help curve the spread of COVID-19, the discussions were eye-opening and sparked new ideas for how to reach young people. I appreciated the opportunity to be involved,” said Ti’Juana Hardwell, owner of Mamarazzi Communications.
Another champion, Madaí Rivera, state director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, Kansas, shared the same sentiment. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity of meeting with such diverse groups of Latino Kansans as they openly shared their perceptions, concerns, and communication suggestions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Although we learn vicariously from our community members, a guided and purposeful discussion with individuals residing in various regions of our state was insightful. A great learning experience! Participants were appreciative of the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful KLC initiative for the greater good.”
Notes from all 67 meetings were compiled into an in-depth Community Meetings Insights report and led to the development of culturally appropriate resources in both English and Spanish to create a larger, more informed dialogue across our state.
“When it comes to messaging, there’s a difference between talking to and talking with your audience. The Voices on Vaccinations campaign is an example of a conversation about concerns being carried throughout our community, rather than imposed upon it from the outside. We aim to capture those concerns and acknowledge them while also providing information to help people make a more informed decision about their vaccination options,” said Christina Long, KLC creative consultant and owner of CML Collective, LLC.
The Voices on Vaccinations media campaign runs through June in Wichita, Kansas City and southwest Kansas. The campaign includes a website, newspaper and radio ads, testimonials, FAQs and social media graphics.
“We were strategic with the creative approach for this campaign by listening to the diverse voices in the meetings and engaging them from the beginning of the project. The resources we’ve developed use language our audiences are used to and connect their questions with answers from experts. We are also using colors and graphics that resonate with these communities,” said Claudia Amaro, KLC consultant and owner of AB&C Bilingual Resources, Inc.
Now that the campaign has launched, champions from the initiative and anyone in Kansas are encouraged to download and share the resources in their community.
The resources above and more are available for free download in English and in Spanish at voicesonvaccinations.org.
“I am thankful to have had the opportunity of meeting with such diverse groups of Latino Kansans as they openly shared their perceptions, concerns, and communication suggestions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Although we learn vicariously from our community members, a guided and purposeful discussion with individuals residing in various regions of our state was insightful. A great learning experience! Participants were appreciative of the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful KLC initiative for the greater good.”
“Voices on Vaccinations was designed to promote vaccine confidence via trusted messengers among communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Ximena Garcia, senior advisor for COVID-19 Vaccine Equity for Governor Laura Kelly.