B.C.'s top doctor has joined a long list of famous Canadians and health-care professionals in the fight to end vaccine hesitancy.
In the wake of soaring cases of coronavirus, the This Is Our Shot campaign aims to spread the message that vaccines are safe — and everyone needs to roll up their sleeves.
Launched in April, the campaign was driven largely by groups that have been reaching out to and advocating for racialized communities bearing the brunt of the pandemic. The goal is to dispel vaccination myths and to answer questions in more than two dozen languages.
The campaign also underscores that COVID-19 may cause serious illness and death in people of all ages, not only older adults or people with chronic medical conditions.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry showed her support for the national campaign in a short video that was shared on Twitter.
"I got vaccinated because it's the best thing to do to protect yourself, the people you love and our whole community," she said.
Henry also encouraged Canadians to join the "this is our shot" challenge and to tag their families and friends to do the same.
Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice? Be kind. Be calm. Be safe... oh, and #bevaccinated @LH_covidtf @sacovidtf @BlackNorthCA @cmcovidtf @ScienceUpFirst @siksikahealth @CityofSurrey @wick_22 @BCGovNews @19ToZero pic.twitter.com/c2uY6QdSf5— This is Our Shot 🇨🇦 (@thisisourshotca) May 16, 2021
Beloved Vancouver actor Ryan Reynolds shared his support for the campaign on social media, rocking one of its trademark t-shirts. He quipped, "matching room not included."
Finally got my #ThisIsOurShotCA t-shirt. Matching room not included. @thisisourshotca 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/GWw0opIVZA— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) April 28, 2021
Burnaby crooner Michael Bublé, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, Canadian hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser and "Dragon's Den" personality Arlene Dickinson have also shared their support for the campaign.
Vaccine hesitancy in Canada
Vancouver emergency physician Dr. Navdeep Grewal, who works with a group providing culturally appropriate pandemic outreach to the South Asian community, said some concerns, such as whether vaccines were developed too quickly, cut across ethnic lines.
Other worries are more specific: for example, are the shots religiously sanctioned?
"They're wondering if it's vegetarian and, yes, the vaccines are all vegan, the ones that we have so far."
Grewal suggested a small subset of the population is steadfastly against vaccines and tends to be the loudest. But most are at least thinking about getting a shot.
"Those are the ones that we have the best opportunity of reaching with campaigns like this."
With files from the Canadian Press.