Many refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) community members experience significant cultural, linguistic, and logistical barriers to COVID-19 vaccination. Accessing the COVID-19 vaccine presents several challenges, including digital literacy, transportation, and navigating unfamiliar vaccination sites. But even more importantly, before a community member seeks out a COVID-19 vaccine, there may remain lingering questions and concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Information sharing on the COVID-19 vaccine is widespread, and frequently questions or concerns may arise due to a lack of knowledge or perhaps misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Communicating COVID-19 vaccine information that is accurate and timely while delivering the information in an accessible and empathic manner is critical to helping RIM communities make informed decisions about whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccine Education Workshops to Address RIM Community Questions and Concerns
COVID-19 vaccine education workshops, delivered in the languages that RIM community members speak, is one strategy to deliver on health equity within the COVID-19 response and ensure that RIM communities, often disproportionally affected by COVID-19, receive accurate information regarding the vaccine. These workshops are tailored to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of RIM communities by providing COVID-19 vaccine information from trusted sources.
COVID-19 Vaccine Education Workshops in Georgia
To address the ongoing questions and concerns, to combat vaccine hesitancy in RIM communities regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, the Refugee Women's Network (RWN) partnered with local clinicians who speak RIM languages to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine education workshops. RWN partnered with Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) and Ethne Health clinic, and various community-based organizations (CBOs) to recruit professionals to speak at the workshops and disseminate flyers to recruit RIM community members to attend these virtual one-hour COVID-19 vaccine educational workshops. RWN's community health promoters assisted with translations, communications, and outreach for these specific RIM communities. A wide range of topics related to the COVID-19 vaccine was discussed during these workshops, ranging from vaccine efficacy to dispelling myths to risk management of COVID-19. Clinicians reported that attendees were very interested in learning more about the COVID-19 vaccine and appreciated having the information shared in their language. The overall feedback from the workshops was positive, with a large percentage of attendees reporting that the workshop helped them decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In total, there were 151 participants across the nine workshops, with over 1,500 views of the video recordings on Facebook. Having this critical information shared from trusted sources with clinical authority enhanced RIM community reception of the information and helped RIM community members become more COVID-19 vaccine confident. The COVID-19 Vaccine Education Workshops video clips are available online in the following languages: Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, French, Hindi, Nepali, Spanish, and Swahili.