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In-language videos aim to boost COVID vaccination rates

Pfizer vaccine Source: AAP

A video campaign being launched in 20 languages has one clear message: get your jab.

On a small studio set in a warehouse in the north-Melbourne suburb of Coburg, community leaders have banded together with a united message.

"I am getting vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect myself and my loved ones."

Mabior is one of a handful of community leaders who have been recruited to take part in a campaign called 'Say goodbye to COVID, get vaccinated'.

It will see content produced in 20 different languages.

It's a joint initiative by the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network and the Centre for Ethnicity to ensure people can access reliable information in their mother tongue.

They hope to boost vaccine uptake among Australia's migrant communities.

Doctor David Isaac, from the North Richmond Community Health Centre, says while vaccine hesitancy is an issue nationwide, in migrant communities it can be fuelled by a lack of health literacy.

"Literacy in English or a language is understanding the language. And in this case, it's understanding the health messages and how to interpret them and how to evaluate risks, you know the pros and cons (fors and againsts) of the vaccine." 

He says that could see some migrants rely on information from their home countries, where the pandemic situation is quite different than it is in Australia.

"It's really just a message of anxiety and fear that really clouds their perceptions and whether they're listening to what the Chief Medical Officer says or what a politician or what the Prime Minister says, I'm not too sure." 

While vaccination centres have been set up across the country to address Australia's sluggish roll-out, there are also concerns the English-only option of online booking systems could provide further barriers to those who don't speak English as a first language.

Doctor Isaac says people who fall into this category should seek GPs who speak their same language.

And he says health centres that service migrant communities should seek translating services where possible.

It's an issue the 'Say goodbye to COVID, get vaccinated' campaign' hopes to rectify when the videos are released this month.


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