By: Follow South Jersey Staff
BRIDGETON, N.J. – With the amount of contradictory information about COVID-19 and the vaccine swirling around social media, many find themselves unsure where to find accurate and up-to-date information.
In a recent Pew Research Center study, over half of those surveyed expressed confusion and concern over vaccine information.
Vaccine United – a local website that serves the South Jersey community as a go-to digital resource where anyone can easily find up-to-date information about how to get vaccinated, who is eligible, what statewide restrictions and protocols are currently in place, how to access mental health and financial resources, and more – has made available a vaccine “Outreach Toolkit” aimed to help individuals and organizations spread the word about where to find accurate vaccine information.
The toolkit explains how the changing science and varying messages can become overwhelming. “This is exacerbated by loud and entrenched voices who will say anything to support a stated belief, regardless of fact,” the toolkit reads. “As a result, misinformation and rhetoric often lead individuals to make decisions not in the interest of their own health, or they become overwhelmed and make no decision at all.”
Along with sample social media posts and graphics that can be shared, the toolkit invites individuals to share their stories about their “journey through the pandemic.”
“Storytelling is such a key part of the Vaccine United mission,” Vaccine United Project Manager Chris Nelson said. “It is so important for people to understand that, although we each have unique stories, none of us is going through this alone, and most of us share similar fears, concerns, and challenges.”
Vaccine United is hosted by Hopeloft, a nonprofit community coworking lab located in Bridgeton that has incubated more than 30 projects which are working together to achieve social change and economic revitalization.
Support for Vaccine United was provided by funding from New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI), a statewide grant-making program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Nelson hopes that, through the help of the vaccine Outreach Toolkit, people will be able to find dependable facts about COVID-19 and the vaccine for more informed conversations.
“For all of its warts, social media is the most powerful narrative tool available to us, especially in terms of interactive storytelling,” Nelson said. “We hope that organizations that share our goal to create a positive dialog around vaccination will use the tools provided here to help continue that conversation.”
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