Encouraging Youth to Mask Up and Get Vaccinated for their Families and Community

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a disproportionate impact on refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities. To slow the spread of COVID-19 in RIM communities, health departments and community-based organizations (CBOs) are developing innovative approaches that encourage youth to wear a mask and get vaccinated not only for themselves, but also for others. One successful strategy is to appeal to young people by highlighting their community’s cultural values, which may include solidarity, collective responsibility, reciprocity, duty to family, respect for elders, or other values that are consistent with taking action to protect others.

COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for the elderly, but youth also can contract and transmit the disease. In communities where youth live in multigenerational homes, their health decisions can have especially far-reaching effects. When developing a campaign aimed at nudging youth in RIM communities toward behaviors that slow the spread of COVID-19, consider including these points:  

  • Youth have an important role to play in their community’s response to COVID-19.
  • Youth can help protect loved ones in their home by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.
  • Youth can help to protect everyone in their community by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.
  • Youth can act in a way that is consistent with their community’s cultural values by doing their part and protecting their elders.

Appealing to Youth in Minnesota

To encourage youth to mask up in Minnesota, Hodan Guled, CEO of Briva Health, created a video campaign called Who are you #MaskingUpFor? The video shows a series of East African youth explaining who they are protecting by wearing a mask. For example, one young man says, “I’m masking up for my ayeyo [grandmother]. She has high blood pressure.” Some of the young people who appear in the video are established influencers in the community because of their work in music or local government; others are regular youth. The video was successfully promoted and viewed thousands of times on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Video: Who are you #MaskingUpFor? 

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