Trust builds vaccine confidence
Over the last year and a half, we have been working on a project that aims to support communities as they build vaccine confidence. Our members, Community Health Centres across BC, are all deeply rooted in community. The CHC model is based on the idea that communities are well-positioned to create and operate health centres that bring teams of professionals together to provide wrap-around care. In a pandemic, that care context includes building vaccine confidence.
Atira Women's Resource Society is a BCACHC member based in Vancouver that is committed to the work of ending violence against women. Atira offers safe and supportive housing and by delivering education and advocacy aimed at ending all forms of gendered violence.
Atira provides women-centred health and social supports, and when it comes to building vaccine confidence, they bring a unique perspective. Their team has developed a training program called "Trust & Connection: Vaccine Hesitancy Training for Peer and Community Support Workers." In this training, peers within the Atira network learn about how to support women who have concerns and questions about vaccines. This includes learning about some of the complex reasons for vaccine hesitancy, how to answer basic questions about vaccines, and how to create positive, trusting, and safe relationships with women.
The goal of Atira's project is to build on the trust already fostered between peers in the community, and equip them with the tools to lead one-to-one discussions with women
on the benefits of vaccination, guiding them toward choices that are right for them.
Sharing Peer Stories
BCACHC had the privilege of supporting the development of this training program by capturing video interviews with the peers who have already gone through the training. These stories are embedded within the vaccine confidence training as real-world examples of the themes in action.
Listening to the peers' stories and spending a few days walking through their community spaces was an eye-opening experience. There are so many reasons for people who have been pushed to the margins of society to experience distrust of the government. By meeting them where they are at and answering their questions without judgement, the Atira team has gone a long way to address local vaccine hesitancy.
Supporting CHCs creatively
In addition to the peer videos, the other branch of our collaboration on this project focused on creating materials to engage more people in skill-building to address vaccine hesitancy. Together, we designed resources and activity sheets to spark conversation and deepen friendships.