Family physicians campaign for vaccine awareness

The videos help the public learn a bit more about vaccines and why they are important

Doctors involved in the Physician On A Mission campaign. (Submitted/ Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice)

Doctors involved in the Physician On A Mission campaign. (Submitted/ Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice)

The Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice, a community of family physicians, has launched a “Physician on a Mission” campaign to reduce vaccine hesitancy and educate individuals on the benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

The campaign includes doctors from various areas of Greater Vancouver speaking in videos that promote and provide information about the vaccine. The videos are in English, Korean, Farsi, Cantonese, and Arabic. 

The idea for the series came from the federal government asking people across the country to create campaigns that promote the COVID-19 vaccine, and campaign funding came from the Public Health Agency of Canada. 

Marquis Odobas, public relations and communications coordinator, and Emily Haugen, the project coordinator, both played a part in creating the video series. They created scripts, reached out to physicians, storyboarded the videos, and filmed and edited them. 

Haugen says one of the main reasons physicians were chosen to make the videos is because people seek them for health advice. Since many people are hesitant about the vaccine, an educational video from a physician would be the best way to learn about it. 

In one of the videos, Dr. Vincent Wong talks about the importance of reliable sources for factual information on the vaccine. Wong says looking at information from the government is a good first step as they always include scientific data, and recommends looking for data that is up-to-date. 

Wong also recommends people speak to family doctors if they have any concerns. 

Dr. Nahla Fahmy is a family physician based in New Westminster and Coquitlam. Fahmy’s segment for the campaign talks about the second dose and why people must get their second shots to get the full effectiveness of the vaccine. Fahmy recommends that people wait eight weeks before receiving their second dose. 

So far, the videos have been shared on social media and email, and Haugen says the response to the videos has been positive and engagement and views on the videos from various social media platforms have been growing. 

Odobas says they included a link with the title “get vaccinated,” and their Twitter platform alone has garnered over 23,000 clicks on the link. 

Many of the doctors featured in the videos wanted to send a message on the importance of the vaccine. Haugen says one of the doctors, Ravi Parhar, wished to speak to the younger people who were more hesitant about receiving their second dose. 

“I’m hoping that people feel informed. I’m hoping that they have an opportunity to get in touch with their doctors. The overall goal is for people to get their vaccines,” says Odobas. 

“Given our current state with the Delta variant, we’re really hopeful that this campaign increases people’s confidence in the vaccine and really illuminates the correct information and the efficacy of the vaccine,” says Haugen. 

As of Sept. 13, British Columbians are required to have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access certain businesses and events. By Oct. 24, people will have to be fully immunized including waiting at least one week after their second dose to still have access to these places.

For more information on how to confirm your vaccination status to the list of applicable places, check out the B.C. government’s webpage.