Understanding Immunization and Care

Project intro

UIC completed the project Understanding Immunization and Care: COVID-19 Vaccine Info Dissemination in five parts facilitated by our social media platforms: we posted original COVID-19 content, reposted content created by community partners and trusted science communicators, administered a vaccination perceptions survey, hosted fireside chats over Instagram Live, and delivered raffles and care packages. We promoted the entire project through the media of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Our original content condensed the originally complicated processes of obtaining a vaccine in the so-called tristate area in which we focus our work into easily digestible slides and steps and outlined historical reasons why Indigenous folks in particular may not trust the development of vaccines. We reposted resources from educators such as Johns Hopkins, Just Human Productions, Dr Liz M, and Dr Nini Muñoz that illuminated personal risk evaluation strategies, detailed vaccine development and mechanisms, and myth busted vaccine controversies. We developed a short survey, administered through Instagram Stories and Google Forms, that examines the vaccination attitudes of our community as well as who their trusted sources of information are. The Fireside Chat Series was hosted by Ariel Richer through the Instagram Live platform, and she interviewed five Indigenous healthcare professionals, organizers, and scientists about a variety of topics surrounding the pandemic. Finally, we partnered with Yellow Project to curate a self-care package for Indigenous people living in the continental US that contained traditionally-derived medicines, wellness prompt cards, and PPE.

Project outcomes/deliverables

  • Survey: We have 160 survey responses, about 75% of which we believe are unique and human (not bot) entries. These responses were collected over the months of April and May. Of those: 84% were vaccinated at end of May; there was an 80% trust in “the vaccines” with 22% CV; and on average a 3 of 5 positive experience getting a vaccine with 26% CV. We look forward to doing an analysis in the coming weeks to determine how vaccination trust correlates with whether the respondent got the vaccine, and what their experience was getting their vaccination. We will also generate word/phase clusters depicting our respondents’ trusted sources, reasons for trusting the vaccine, and thoughts about their vaccination experiences. These results will be published to our followings on social media. From a preliminary view of the free-form responses, we see an emphasis on: getting vaccinated for the safety of the community, and making a risk evaluation between the knowns and unknowns related to COVID-19 vs vaccines against it. This emphasis is not surprising from what members of our team experience in our own Indigenous communities.
  • COVID-19 info landing page
  • IG posts and continually updated highlight reels about COVID and vaccines

Team members

Gianna Reza-Ortega | Program Manager of Research + Advocacy | Chiricahua Apache (she/her/ella)
Gianna Reza-Ortega is a queer person with roots in the Chiricahua Apache tribe and Mexico. She is a recent graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemical Engineering, where she spent her undergraduate career planning and executing programming in both physical and virtual spaces to build community and raise voices of young adults from marginalized communities. Gianna is passionate about reproductive healthcare and healthcare access for marginalized communities, especially those affected by carceral systems.
Ariel Richer, LMSW (PhD candidate) | Chief Executive Officer | Venezuela/Trinidad & Tobago
Ariel is a descendant of the Indigenous people of Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. Ariel is a doctoral student at Columbia University School of Social Work working within the Social Intervention Group (SIG), under the direction of Associate Professor Louisa Gilbert. Her focus is on intimate partner violence prevention at the intersection of drug and alcohol use, community-based participatory research, and working collaboratively with Indigenous and Native communities. Previously, she worked as an Impact Evaluator at the Administration for Native Americans where she worked directly with community-based organizations developing logic models, evaluation plans, data collection tools, and processes at a community-specific level and across a diverse set of communities.
Logan Tootle, MSW (candidate) | Chief Operating Officer | Cherokee Nation
Logan Tootle is a member of the Cherokee Nation. She is currently a MSW student at Columbia University specializing in Social Enterprise Administration. Logan is completing her social work fieldwork with UIC as an MSW Associate. In addition to her studies, Logan is a Research Assistant for Dr. Brooke S. West who focuses on the sociostructural factors of substance use and HIV/STIs among womxn. Logan recently relocated to New York City from Minneapolis/St. Paul where she worked at the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (MIWRC).