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Community Unity: new YouTube series explains why the vaccine can help us all

ABOUT THIS PROJECTVaccine for the World is a new multimedia project from the Evening Standard. Over the next year, we will explore the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolds, with a focus on the vaccine rollout in six African countries. We will highlight the challenges, the potential solutions and the role of London’s scientists and innovators in making a safer world for all. The series is funded by the European Journalism Centre’s European Development Journalism Grants program, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
By
15 December 2021
ABOUT THIS PROJECTVaccine for the World is a new multimedia project from the Evening Standard. Over the next year, we will explore the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolds, with a focus on the vaccine rollout in six African countries. We will highlight the challenges, the potential solutions and the role of London’s scientists and innovators in making a safer world for all. The series is funded by the European Journalism Centre’s European Development Journalism Grants program, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Infographics come to life in this Q&A video series combatting vaccine misinformation. Syraat Al Mustaqeem breaks down the alternative content that is explaining away the myths around vaccines and Covid-19 variants

The YouTube video series “Community Unity” answers common Google searches about the Covid-19 vaccine, breaking down scientific jargon for a young audience.

The 12-part series uses short, animated videos in the style of infographics, answering the most common queries with a side of Gen Z references.

Each two-minute episode addresses a different question surrounding vaccines, such as effects on fertility, children, as well as variants and the long-term symptoms of Covid-19.

“Community Unity” is a collaboration between the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, YouTube and Klick Health.

David Bowen, Klick Health’s Head of Policy & Advocacy, says: "Public health messages often have a familiar style: an expert talking head earnestly discussing the facts. That style can be effective for some audiences, but to reach a wider audience in a compelling and authentic way, we took a different approach.”

This series emphasises the importance of reliable sources (not your boyfriend or an anonymous blog post with three likes) and asking your doctor about the benefits of vaccination against Covid-19.

We take a look at some of the videos here:

What is Community Immunity?

The first video in the series calls for people to “come together, learn together and stay protected together”. The bubbly narrator rhymes her way through an explanation of “community immunity” and talks us through the effectiveness of vaccines for Covid-19 and other diseases such as smallpox, polio and measles.

Do Covid-19 Vaccines Affect Fertility?

“Well sis, I’m not getting the shot – I want to have a baby”, laments an “indecisive” Tina. This short exchange between twins Tina and Tanya sounds like something you might overhear on the tube.

The conversation is packed full of randomly sourced pseudo-facts from Tina while Tanya dispels the dangers of vaccines on pregnant women. Tanya presents colourful statistics on healthy vaccinated pregnant women and emphasises that there is no reliable evidence of vaccine-related miscarriages.

Alien babies are also ruled out of the side effects – what a relief.

Covid-19 Vaccines vs Variants

The “jab from the lab” battles the “raging contagion” in this wrestling-mania parody, showing how the longer you stay unvaccinated, the longer the virus has to mutate into a new strain.

Statistics show that deaths of unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely, while hospitalisation is 23 times more likely.

In the video, the variant has a gameplan to hit the most “vulnerable” immune systems, making the naysayers of the vaccine the softest target.

Let’s Get Vaxxed, Baby!

This Covid-immune infant tells us the story of how his mum passed on Covid-19 antibodies to him after receiving the vaccine (“Jealous? I know, I know”)

The baby explains that although new-borns are too young to be vaccinated themselves, there are a few months of protection from the antibodies and a lower risk of Covid complications for vaccinated pregnant mothers.

“Word in the womb” is that vaccines are not only safe for mothers but safe for their children too.

Pregnancy and Covid-19 Vaccines

This mother-to-mother conversation outlines what to expect when you’re expecting – with the added stress of a pandemic. The fifth episode covers the benefits of antibodies being passed down to infants through breast milk and encourages parents to get vaccinated to protect their young ones.

The video displays a graph that shows how pregnant women are 70 per cent more likely to die from Covid-19 and only 30 per cent of them are vaccinated[RR1] . It’s no wonder three videos of this series have been dedicated to this demographic.

Covid Vaccine Side Effects

Anyone remember “Jeopardy”? Points are won in this video by guessing the question paired with each answer.

This classic game-show format comforts viewers from the side effects of the vaccine. Nausea? You could get that from your favourite lunch spot. Headaches? Off-key karaoke and a hangover. Sore arm? That’s from the (don’t-try-this-at-home) TikTok crate challenge you tried.

Although the vaccine has some side effects, this game-show host assures us that they only last a short time and are worth the protection.

Covid Vaccine Ingredients

Polyethylene glycol 2000, tromethamine hydrochloride, monobasic potassium phosphate – confusing to the average person but easily recognised in their everyday forms as fats, acids and salts. Breaking down these vaccine ingredients is the aim of this episode to make the jab a lot less scary.

The vaccines are vegan too, which apparently makes them less worrying than the ingredients in “that hotdog from the dude in the corner”.

Natural Immunity vs Vaccine Immunity

This video looks at the question of whether natural immunity beats vaccine immunity. Even after having Covid-19, unvaccinated people who have already had the disease are twice as likely to be reinfected. The jab acts like an extra layer of protection – like leggings in the winter.

The Short Story of Long Covid

The most recent episode takes viewers on a journey through time to see the effects of long Covid – with a long list to match. Present Ben hears from Future Ben on all the things he will miss out on while suffering from long Covid – unless he gets the vaccine.

Present Ben thanks his future self for the advice to join the vaccinated, who are 50 per cent less likely to get long Covid. Time warp aside, this addition to the series fits neatly into the message that there is no better time to get the Covid-19 vaccination.