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Responding to Questions and Concerns about the COVID-19 Vaccine, Including During Ramadan

Refugee service providers play a critical role in COVID-19 response, supporting refugee and immigrant communities so that they can get accurate, accessible information from trusted sources. To help with that effort, Switchboard is excited to feature blogs from our colleagues at the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM). Each blog post will include timely tips and link you to relevant, multilingual materials and resources that you can distribute to clients, share with partner organizations, or use in your work.

Tip #1: Prepare Staff to Answer Questions About the Vaccine

Refugee service providers are increasingly being asked questions about the vaccine. They may struggle not only with what their responses should be, but also with what their role should be in the vaccine conversation and where to find helpful resources for clients.

Tip #2: Help Bust Myths, Misinformation, and Disinformation

Now that staff are prepared to answer questions, they may want to proactively provide accurate information about the vaccine.

·         NRC-RIM offers customizable resources that will be translated into more than 30 languages:

o   Get Vaccinated Campaign is based on feedback NRC-RIM has received indicating that people from many different backgrounds connect with the theme of protecting their communities.

o   Get the Facts Campaign is based on CDC guidance, offering facts about COVID-19 vaccines in a simple and memorable way that counters common misconceptions. These facts address cost, ingredients, side effects, eligibility, and more.

o   “Vaccination Is” Campaign was created in partnership with IDEO.org and refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) community members. It includes downloadable posters, social media graphics, and comic strips. Additionally, for those who want to create their own, there is a customizable vaccine poster kit.

·         These Vaccine Quick Fact flyers are available in 14 languages and also as social media graphics

The above materials can be distributed in various ways. For example, staff can hand these out as part of their regular client meetings, post on social media, or build a campaign through SMS platforms like WhatsApp to send the graphics to clients. The NRC-RIM communications toolkit has resources to help. While these resources are designed to be as easy to use as possible, additional contextualization or explanation may be needed in some cases. 

Switchboard and NRC-RIM recently co-hosted a webinar on Community-Led COVID-19 Messaging: Practical Tools for Building Hyperlocal Custom Communications. This webinar featured community leaders discussing their experiences with the messaging approach of hyperlocal communications and shared two tools you can use in your own communications work: NRC-RIM’s Community-Led Messaging for COVID-19 Contact Tracing Guidebook and a COVID-19 Vaccine Poster Kit.

Tip #3: Tailor the Message to Relevant Moments, such as Ramadan

As Ramadan begins in the middle of April, there has been some concern that receiving a vaccine could be considered breaking fast. NRC-RIM is excited to offer several multilingual videos featuring Muslim religious leaders discussing vaccination, including while observing fast. For those who may want to make their own video, NRC-RIM also has a script and talking points about COVID-19 vaccines and Ramadan. Consider posting the videos on social media or sending a link through SMS platforms like WhatsApp.

Tip #4: Learn from Your Colleagues

NRC-RIM gathered some of the best and most innovative ideas from around the country and created COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach, Education, and Support: Tips for ORR Grantees. Explore ideas for what other agencies have accomplished and think about what might fit for your agency or in your community. NRC-RIM also has a Vaccine Central feature, which includes a growing collection of other resources and promising practices.

Don’t forget! NRC-RIM’s searchable translated materials library catalogues translated and interpreted videos and other resources. You can find over 5,000 COVID-19 resources in more than 175 different languages.

If you need a resource but don’t see it, or your agency needs technical assistance on engaging with clients around COVID-19 and the vaccine, contact the NRC-RIM team at nrcim@umn.edu.  

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