North Bay health unit promotes vaccines with new social media campaign

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is hoping a new social media campaign will help convince the public to get vaccinated and support the fight against COVID-19.

The campaign is called 'One Step Closer' and it features videos, pictures and quotes of well-known figures in the area that have been vaccinated. The goal is to convince skeptical people to get the shot.

“By getting your COVID-19 vaccine, you're one step closer,” said health unit spokesperson Alex McDermid.

The videos and photos feature interviews with vaccinated people about what they are excited about getting back to after the pandemic ends.

“I miss all of it, getting into the rink,” said North Bay Battalion GM Adam Dennis, who spoke about missing the OHL season. “It’s the people and interactions. Junior hockey for me is so much about community.”

Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod is part of the campaign and he said he misses the weekly interactions he gets with First Nation elders.

“For some reason in this day and age, there was a lot of skepticism out there and conspiracy theories,” McLeod said. “I wanted to just play my part. The sooner that we trust the science on this, the sooner we can get back to a sense of normalcy.”

Sundridge Centennial Public School Grade 7/8 teacher Jamey Sollman is part of the campaign and he hopes by getting the vaccine, he’ll be one step closer to getting back into the classroom for teaching.

“The one thing I’m looking forward to is seeing each student’s full face again and be able to work one-on-one in the small groups if we have to,” Sollman said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 73 per cent of adults living in the health unit’s district have received their first dose. While 32 per cent are fully vaccinated, 52 per cent of youth ages 12-17 have one dose.

“When going to a clinic, you can take a picture with our banner and post what you’re one step closer to and we’re going to share those messages using that hashtag,” said McDermid, who added the campaign is all about shedding a positive light on vaccine efficiency.

While the campaign was originally supposed to only last about seven weeks, McDermid said there has been a great response to the videos. The health unit expects the campaign to continue to ramp up as more people are able to book their second dose of the vaccine.