Your Health Matters Campaign
‘Your Health Matters’ health campaign reaches out to communities of color impacting Africans, African Americans & Caribbean population
One aim of the public-service initiative is to reduce the incidence of severe outcomes from COVID-19 and related variants.
(PHILADELPHIA, PA) – Leaders in the local Black and Caribbean communities have come together to create and champion a public health-awareness campaign promoting the benefits of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and its variants.
The initiative, Your Health Matters, Arm Yourself…Vaccinate!, kicked off recently, with a series of advertisements on SEPTA in Philadelphia – from Center City to City Line Avenue -- and its surrounding counties.
The focus is on the region’s high-risk underserved communities, which are vulnerable to higher infection rates during the COVID-19 crisis. A contingent of professionals from medicine, business, government, and the community implemented a collaborative grassroots strategy to actively address the wide disparity in healthcare inequities that existed before, and now are prevalent during the pandemic.
The message is simple and straightforward with a “we’re-in-this-together” tone: COVID-19 and related variants are preventable, or minimized, through vaccination and booster intervention. Protect yourself and others. It is not too late to vaccinate.
An ad campaign on public transit – various SEPTA buses -- will run through June, and is now critical, as local and national health officials are predicting a bout with another highly contagious variant on the horizon. The ads are accompanied by the #SPOTTHEBUS Challenge, a social-media engagement contest. The public can win restaurant certificates and other amazing must-have prizes. Just take a photo of the ads on the “Spot the FunTimes COVID-19 Vaccine” buses, and then tag FunTimes on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Join the conversation at:
The goal is to achieve the highest vaccination and booster rates possible in communities of color through the assistance of educational marketing outreach to neighborhood schools, businesses, churches, and community groups. The COVID-19 public-service messages align with the mission of participating organizations led by FunTimes Magazine, a trusted information source and coalition-builder serving and mobilizing underserved Diaspora communities in the Mid-Atlantic states.
It is important to directly engage with highly impacted Diaspora communities on the COVID-19 and variant vaccination issue -- which reflects overall longstanding race inequities of access and the administration of health services.
Employing a continuum of social media as well as advertising and news stories, the project was established to combat the disproportionate levels of coronavirus cases in susceptible African, African-American, and Caribbean communities.
With the impending return of stricter pandemic protocols in the Delaware Valley, the campaign is a gentle reminder to those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated that the virus is still a serious threat and to make a date to get their shots for future protection against new sub-variants including the now-dominant BA.2.
To “get on board” with the COVID-19 health protections, advertising has been directed to omnipresent SEPTA reaching high-risk populations including those in the inner city – of Philadelphia and the suburbs in parts of Montgomery, Delaware, and Bucks counties. The spots in Philadelphia can be viewed on transit routes citywide including in Center City, Southwest, and West Philly (University City). About 660,700 riders will see the ads on routes that cover 1,616 transports daily.
The word “Your” in the 'Your Health Matters' campaign, with an emphasis on the letters “our, ”indicates that the decision to get vaccinated is a personal choice and affords individual protection that is unifying, serving the good of the community as a whole. The ads illustrate images of a vaccine container and needle accompanied by photos of various regional community leaders.
Featured in the ad spots are Dr. Ken Scott, President/CEO of Beech Companies; Rochelle Bilal, Philadelphia Sheriff; Bishop Patricia Davenport, Evangelical Lutheran Church; Bryant Green, owner of Always Best Care senior services (Philadelphia and Delaware), Lisa Gwalkolo, Founder of Health Africa Foundation, and Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, Vice-President of Community Affairs, Independence Blue Cross.
The public-service ad campaign was made possible by the support of community partners FunTimes Magazine, AFSCME, Always Best Care senior services, ICAP-Inc., AFAHO, Health Africa Foundation, Philly Counts, Brown’s ShopRite, Philadelphia Register of Wills, Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, AFRICOM and the City of Philadelphia.
Health authorities have said that vaccinations and boosters, which are free of charge, are key arsenals in the pandemic war proving to be effective against COVID-19 and its known variants. Currently, anyone, age five and older, is eligible to get vaccinated. Unvaccinated individuals comprise most of the nation’s hospitalizations and face a higher risk for more severe outcomes.
Black and brown persons have been less likely than those in the white community to get their shots against COVID-19 in the United States, according to the Kaiser Health Foundation (KHF), a nonprofit data source tracking health issues nationally.
Other research has shown that countries with an African-American population of above 85 percent experience 10 times higher death rates from COVID-19 and related variants compared to the national average.