CDC Namibia and Partners Create Digital Holiday Cards to Promote COVID-19 Vaccination
- The U.S. government donated hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines to Namibia as part of the Initiative for Global Vaccine Access (Global Vax)
- The CDC Namibia team, along with local public health experts and partners, used social media to encourage more people to get vaccinated
- Public health partners collaborated to write holiday cards for social media, with messages to encourage Namibians to get vaccinated against COVID-19
This digital Christmas card created by the Namibian Ministry of Health, CDC in Namibia, and local public health partners was easily shared via social media and WhatsApp. It encouraged recipients to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Namibia office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with many other partners, continues to provide extensive technical support to the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes case management, infection prevention and control, risk communications, tracking the spread of COVID-19, and encouraging people to get vaccinated.
Efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccinations focus on sharing trusted information about the vaccines and positive messages about vaccination in a climate where fake news is circulating.
The close collaboration of MOHSS, CDC, and local public health partners led to a national Get Vaccinated, Help Kick COVID-19 Out of Namibia mass media campaign in August 2021. The goal is to increase vaccine confidence and encourage more Namibians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The team created holiday cards that also encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The cards are designed for social media and WhatsApp. People can use them to encourage loved ones, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others to get vaccinated.
The cards are intentionally posted to the same platforms that are used to spread COVID-19 myths and misinformation.
The U.S. Government Donated Hundreds of Thousands of COVID-19 Vaccines to Namibia
To improve global access to COVID-19 vaccines, the U.S. government is donating more than 1.2 billion doses to countries most in need. As of July 5, 2022, the United States has delivered more than half a billion doses to over 115 countries, including Namibia.
Since September 2021, the U.S. government has donated more than 475,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to the more than 2.6 million people of Namibia.
CDC is part of the Initiative for Global Vaccine Access (Global VAX), a U.S. government effort to turn vaccines in vials into vaccinations in arms.
CDC’s efforts through Global VAX have shifted from vaccine preparedness to implementation, including planning, improving vaccine confidence and demand, supporting vaccine safety monitoring, and evaluating vaccines and vaccination programs.
Namibia is one of 40 countries that CDC is supporting with additional resources to control the pandemic. CDC experts work with ministries of health and global partners to tailor support to each country to improve vaccine uptake.
Namibia’s Public Health Experts and Partners Find New Ways to Convince More People to Get Vaccinated
“We’ve come a long way since we began brainstorming new ideas to get the vaccine message out last June,” says CDC Namibia Country Director Brian Baker, MD.
In addition to traditional ways of reaching Namibians like using print, radio, and television, Baker says the Namibian Ministry of Health, CDC Namibia, and partners decided to use digital tools because it’s easy to quickly get messages out about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines.
Social media and WhatsApp are great ways to reach a lot of Namibians. Using these digital tools makes it easier to quickly react to any new rumors or misinformation regarding vaccines, which is a Global Vax priority.
Namibia’s Public Health Experts Collaborate to Create Digital Greeting Cards
“By the end of 2021, the public was less responsive to calls to get vaccinated, but we still needed to share this message to reach as many people as possible,” says Baker. After more brainstorming and collaboration, the idea for a digital Christmas card with COVID-19 vaccination messages surfaced.
A Happy New Year’s card, Valentine’s Day card, and International Women’s Day card quickly followed.
Namibia’s Day Independence Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day provided more opportunities for the team to create digital cards that combine COVID-19 vaccination messages with holiday greetings.
Namibia’s Ministry of Health, CDC Namibia, and local public health partners created a digital Happy New Year card that included a message reminding folks that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a great way to start the new year.
In 2022, Namibia’s Ministry of Health, U.S. CDC Namibia and local public health partners designed a digital Valentine’s Day card with a message about getting the COVID-19 vaccine that could be shared on social media and WhatsApp.
The Namibian Ministry of Health, CDC Namibia, and partners selected a clear and simple message at Easter to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
These digital cards can spark conversations among friends and loved ones. “We’re talking about what matters to people at the time and pinning COVID-19 vaccination messages around it to make it relevant,” says Baker.
Holidays also usually inspire large gatherings. Namibia’s health officials hope that members of the public will share the cards with their friends and family to remind them that gatherings will be much safer for them when they are vaccinated.