As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out in British Columbia, a recent survey conducted by MOSAIC reveals that there are gaps in vaccine information for newcomers.
Of the 821 immigrant and refugee clients that completed the survey, a majority of respondents said that they needed more information about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine and its side effects in order to feel comfortable receiving it.
A third of respondents also stated that they needed information in their first language in order to better understand vaccinations. Others indicated that online information sessions and print materials were important for their understanding.
“Newcomer populations may face barriers in accessing information and service that are available for the wider community. For example, the online registration system is challenging for newcomers and many cannot access it without a support worker,” said Sherman Chan, Director of Family and Settlement Services at MOSAIC.
MOSAIC’s Family and Settlement Services team is actively engaged with Fraser Health Authority in Burnaby to support newcomers and seniors in conducting virtual talks, accessing correct information, registering, and getting the vaccine. Additionally, MOSAIC’s Volunteer Coordinator was able to provide volunteers to support the Vancouver Coastal Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
MOSAIC’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes have been receiving COVID-related announcements via an online bulletin board, which are followed up by in-class discussion to ensure all students are aware of where they can get reliable multilingual information.
According to Chan, the Specialized Seniors Program (SSP) at MOSAIC has hosted webinars so that senior newcomers can learn more about vaccines, and the majority of MOSAIC’s senior clients have received the COVID vaccine. The SSP also connected seniors with mobility issues to their respective health authorities so they could receive the vaccines in their homes.
“As the province continues to move forward with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination, MOSAIC is working hard to ensure newcomers have access to the information and support they need,” said Chan.
To read the full results of the survey, click here.