Foster Youth Create PSAs to Build Vaccine Confidence in Peers of Color
Kids in the Spotlight to release CDC Foundation-funded PSA
on World Health Day
LOS ANGELES, Calif.– Former foster youth produced a series of three PSAs to address misinformation and vaccine hesitancy for their Black and brown peers with Kids in the Spotlight (KITS). The first of the series launches on April 7th, World Health Day, through KITS’ TikTok and culminates with a YouTube release of the third PSA on May 1st, the start of National Foster Care Month.
According to recent data from the CDC, vaccine gaps persist in young communities of color. 30.4% of Black and 37.7% of Hispanic young adults 18 to 49 years old are fully vaccinated compared to 49.5% of their white counterparts. To close those gaps, KITS’ youth producers searched for new ways to raise vaccine confidence.
“We have to understand that with COVID-19, there are social and cultural issues that actually intersect with the scientific issues,” said Ingrid Banks, one of the PSAs’ specialist consultants and Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. KITS and the PSAs’ four youth producers, all graduates of the organization’s media arts education and vocational training program for foster youth based in Los Angeles, know the role those issues play in vaccination rate disparities. Banks said, “Combatting medical injustice is just as urgent as the fight against police brutality in our communities.”
To better understand Black and brown young adults’ distrust of vaccinations, producers conducted four listening sessions with vaccine-hesitant peers. Addressing structural racism and concerns like infertility, zombie movies, and the Tuskegee “Experiment,” the producers incorporated their learnings into the PSAs’ messaging.
Diane Guzman, one of the youth producers said, “Being part of a minority community, I understand the hesitancy some might have regarding the vaccine. I also know that it is our job to become informed, ask questions, and bring awareness so that we can save lives, especially of our peers.”
KITS and the producers know peer-to-peer messaging is instrumental to address the public health needs and concerns of young people of color and other marginalized groups. With their first-of-its-kind PSA, KITS hopes to influence the public health profession to harness the power of art and the voices of young creators speaking to their own communities.
“Black and brown youth advocating for communities of color by educating their peers about health risks and disparities exemplifies leadership and courage,” said Tige Charity, Executive Director of KITS.
Funding for this effort is made possible through a sub-award from the CDC Foundation and is part of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) financial assistance award totaling $2,500,000.00 with 100 percent funding from CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.