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Culturally-Informed COVID-19 Vaccine Campaigns with Next Gen Hawai‘i

Effective public health campaigns require the inclusion of diverse perspectives and voices, especially when campaigns target specific groups and communities. This was made even more apparent when the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing disparities in certain populations. It was identified early on that historically marginalized groups were bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s impact. This exposed the dire need for public health information, messaging, and resources to target these specific communities.

In HIPHI’s third year of COVID-19 education and communications, we worked with Next Gen Hawai‘i to develop a campaign to encourage uptake of the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine. Next Gen Hawai‘i is a collaborative of youth social media ambassadors that formed in 2020 in response to the lack of information and resources for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Filipino teens and young adults. The youth ambassadors lead the creative process and ensure that messaging is rooted in their cultural contexts and delivered in-language. 

Numerous campaigns and education efforts have focused on high-risk groups, including kūpuna and those who are immunocompromised. While these campaigns are important, we also recognize the key role of younger populations in minimizing transmission and preventing infections. The aim of this campaign was to target youth and younger adults, the two age groups currently lagging in vaccine uptake. 

Three informational and three anecdotal videos were developed in English, Chuukese, and Ilokano to encourage uptake of the updated COVID-19 vaccine. The informational videos highlighted five things to know about the most recent vaccine, while the anecdotal videos encouraged vaccine uptake through a culturally-informed lens and reviewed the importance of continuing to practice mitigation measures. These anecdotal videos contained culturally-relevant themes developed by the youth ambassadors. While HIPHI guided the talking points and ensured the public health messaging and information was up-to-date, Next Gen Hawai‘i led the creative and cultural context of the videos. The videos were shared on Instagram and Facebook and were also disseminated as social media ads on each platform to reach a broader audience.

As we enter the fifth year since the start of the pandemic, HIPHI will continue to deliver COVID-19 communication that centers the voices and experiences of the communities we serve. As Momi Tolentino (Next Gen Hawai‘i) aptly expresses, “If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we are much stronger when we work together and partner in our efforts. Next Gen Hawaiʻi was built on the idea that through collaboration and amplification of community efforts, we can all serve our communities in ways that benefit their health and well-being. Here’s to a new generation of movers and shakers ready to support our communities moving forward!” 

Find our videos on Instagram (@hubforhealth) and Facebook (@hubforhealtHI).

This project was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $20,007,444 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

Sairel Labasan, MPH

Sairel Labasan, MPH

Program Manager: COVID-19 Projects Liaison
Justina Clanton, MPH

Justina Clanton, MPH

COVID-19 Outreach Coordinator
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