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Science North gets half a million in federal funding to promote COVID-19 vaccines

Two-year promotional project to target young people, Francophones, Indigenous and other 'underserved audiences'

The federal government is spending half a million dollars so that Science North can try to convince more people to get COVID-19 vaccines.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is providing the money through its Immunization Partnership Fund, which is to last two years, until March of 2023.

The project called "Give Vaccines a Shot!" is expected to increase vaccine confidence through a complement of exciting informal and entertaining learning experiences targeted to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, said Science North.  The project is also intended to focus "on engaging youth, Francophone, Indigenous and other underserved audiences".

Science North will be partnering with Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD), the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), the Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI), Ontario Health (North) and school boards across the province to create age specific, culturally sensitive and community-based programming, said the release.

Sudbury MP Viviane Lapointe has endorsed the initiative saying it will help people be better informed.

“Science North has an incredible ability, coupled with expertise and experience, for communicating with the public and educating them on important matters in unique and engaging ways. This funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada will tap into this asset and help Science North to deliver innovative approaches to educating our communities with evidence-based vaccination communication. Many people want to be informed and this will help keep them and our communities safe," Lapointe said in the release. 

The campaign is expected to include live webinar events, digital content and science explainers that will be shared across Science North’s digital channels in English and French. Science North said it will respond to public queries posed on digital channels through Direct Answer videos as a way to connect with audiences on a personal level. The public health virtual talk series and the digital campaign could engage up to 630,000 Canadians, said Science North.

Nickel Belt MP Marc G. Serré said the program could increase public confidence in vaccines. 

“Thank you to Science North for continually delivering science-based information in an interactive and innovative way. The pandemic related workshops are sure to build increased public confidence and inspire more people to make an educated and safe choice concerning vaccination. Nickel Belt – Greater Sudbury boasts high vaccination rates thanks to the work of great public educators, partners and selfless community minded individuals," said Serré.