NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) the national nonprofit organization dedicated since 2004 to fostering positive health behavior change through the power of science and hip hop music, today launched Community Immunity: A Rap Anthology about Vaccines. A suite of free resources aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccine coverage in communities of color by fighting fear with facts, this animated rap anthology deconstructs vaccine literacy in a series of five animated videos, beginning with What Are Vaccines and Why Do They Work?. Featuring the voice of Grammy®-winning rapper and HHPH Advisory Board member Darryl DMC McDaniels of Run-DMC, with award-winning producer Artie Green and singer-songwriter Gerry Gunn, Community Immunity: A Rap Anthology About Vaccines is the latest COVID-19 public information campaign from Hip Hop Public Health. The organization’s trilogy of high-impact music video PSAs – 20 Seconds or More, 20 Segundos o Más and Behind the Mask – have been viewed and shared by millions, and become a part of the vernacular around the coronavirus with universal messages of love and safety since launching at the height of the pandemic in New York City in spring 2020.
Each 60-second video in the Community Immunity anthology features a common underlying hip hop track with a unique rap verse that incorporates vaccine literacy content and a universal hook about the benefits of community immunity, which is repeated and sung in each video. The goal of the series is not only to inform, but also to turn receiving the vaccine into a social norm. Each video in the series will be launched over the next several weeks through March 2021, beginning with What Are Vaccines and Why Do They Work? (launching 2/11), followed by Are Vaccines Safe and How Do I Know This? (launching 2/18); What are the Common Vaccine Myths, Misperceptions? (launching 2/25); What Can I Expect if I Take the Vaccine? (launching 3/4); and, Getting a Vaccine is Better than Getting Infected with COVID-19 (launching 3/11).
“COVID-19 is the most urgent global challenge we face today, and if we can encourage 80% of the population to get vaccinated, we can achieve the community-wide immunity we need for social activities to return to normal” says Dr. Olajide Williams, Founder of Hip Hop Public Health, tenured Professor of Neurology at Columbia University, and Chief of Staff of the Department of Neurology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “As the coronavirus continues to ravage communities of color, the long-standing distrust that many feel towards medical science has proven to be an even greater challenge. Our goal with the Community Immunity anthology is therefore to increase vaccine literacy by demonstrating three critical points of fact: one, the vaccine is safe; two, no scientific shortcuts were taken in the development of the vaccine; and three, being vaccinated is an act of community service.”
“While we must work to fill knowledge gaps, we also recognize that knowledge alone does not motivate behavior change. To meet the challenge of COVID-19, we need to truly connect, culturally and emotionally,” adds Dr. Williams. “This is why HHPH developed the Multisensory Multilevel Health Education Model, which leverages the power of culture and art to motivate people to live healthier lives.”
“Hip Hop Public Health is committed to providing accessible, culturally relevant resources, free of charge to empower underserved communities about critical health issues ,” says Lori Rose Benson, Executive Director and CEO of Hip Hop Public Health. “With recent studies showing that more than half of African American adults are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it is essential that we create and widely disperse messages to dispel myths and reduce anxiety around the vaccine with the goal of creating Community Immunity as the ultimate act of love – love of self, love of family and love of the community – to inspire and drive action.”
A recent national study (Szilgayi et al, JAMA December 2020) revealed that the self-reported likelihood of getting a COVID-19 vaccine declined from 75% in April 2020 to 56% in December 2020, despite extensive media coverage beginning in November showing high efficacy for both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The lowest likelihood of vaccination was found among Black individuals and those with lower educational backgrounds, two groups that bear the highest burden of illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. The APM Research Lab has found that Covid-19 has killed 1 out of every 645 Black Americans, and according to the journal PLOS Medicine, Black people, ages 35 to 44, have been dying at nine times the rate of white people the same age.
“These findings make HHPH’s novel approach to vaccine hesitancy a critical item on the menu of initiatives designed to increase vaccine coverage,” Dr. Williams concludes.
Plans to roll-out Community Immunity include a series of community mobilization events in partnership with the State of New York’s Vaccine Equity Taskforce, HeartSmilesMD, The New York City Department of Education’s Office of School Wellness Programs, and others. The videos will also be widely distributed across multiple social media channels in collaboration with local faith-based organizations, community media outlets and national and local radio platforms. In addition, Community Immunity will be part of a larger program used in company settings as a tool to educate essential workforces and answer pointed questions about the vaccine. In partnership with 40 West Advisors, HHPH’s innovative and customized tools will allow direct access to the answers employees need to make informed decisions about the vaccine. Finally, the public is invited to engage directly with Dr. Williams and Dr. Monique Hedmann-Maxey, HHPH Advisory Board member who also appears in the videos, through #AskTheHipHopDocs. This interactive social media initiative is designed to answer questions and help dispel misperceptions when tagged in real-time. Answers will appear on www.hhph.org
“Communities of color carry the heaviest burden from the pandemic, and in order to stop the virus in its tracks, we need to increase vaccine literacy, change behavior and get vaccinated,” says Darryl DMC McDaniels. “By harnessing the power of hip hop, we hope to connect with communities of color in a way they can relate to and encourage folks to get vaccinated. I am honored to lend my voice to this vital campaign – get the shot y’all!”
The five videos in the Community Immunity series are focused on the following topics:
WHAT ARE VACCINES AND HOW DO THEY WORK? Highlights the power of vaccines, which have all but eliminated diseases that once sickened, crippled or killed millions of people every year, including smallpox and polio. The two current COVID-19 vaccines are more than 90% effective at protecting the recipient (9 of 10 people won’t get sick if they get both doses of the vaccine).
ARE VACCINES SAFE AND HOW DO WE KNOW THIS? Despite the speed of vaccine development (which has prompted many to question whether a vaccine for COVID-19 is safe and effective), very strict science, regulations, and transparency was enforced during vaccine development and data safety monitoring. Even after a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, the FDA, CDC, healthcare systems and vaccine developers will continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for years.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON VACCINE MYTHS, MISPERCEPTIONS? Addresses misinformation and how this has affected people’s trust, and addresses fears with facts. “This is not just a moment of truth; it is a moment for truth.”
GETTING A VACCINE IS A BETTER DEFENSE THAN GETTING INFECTED WITH COVID-19 Which puts you at risk of severe infection, protracted illness, and death. This video also emphasizes that one of the most important tools to save Black lives right now is vaccination.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IF I TAKE THE VACCINE? Describes transient reactions to vaccination and emphasizes the importance of returning for the second shot (for the two currently approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the United States) for community immunity. Defines herd immunity as community immunity. Getting both shots is not just about me, it is also about us.
“We have been locked in a life or death battle against COVID for nearly a year, and with the vaccine now in hand, we finally have the weapon that will win this war, but it will only be as effective as our willingness to use it,” said New York Secretary of State and Co-Chair of New York’s Vaccine Equity Task Force Rossana Rosado. “The sad truth about COVID is it hasn’t only attacked our health, it’s brought to light the structural racism, injustices and inequities that have contributed towards the distrust and skepticism people feel towards the health care system and the vaccine itself, especially in communities of color. The fact is it is safe, it is reliable and if we are truly to get back to normal, we need everyone to have confidence in it – that’s why the work Hip Hop Public Health is doing is so important. By finding new and creative ways to instill confidence in the vaccine, they are getting information about the vaccine’s efficacy to those who need it in an easily digestible and understandable format. Hip Hop Public Health has been a tremendous partner to New York’s Vaccine Equity Task Force from the very beginning and on behalf of Governor Cuomo and all New Yorkers, I thank them for this critically important public service.”
The Community Immunity: A Rap Anthology about Vaccines series was produced by Artie Green. The video animation was created by Mylo The Cat and Cartuna. Medical oversight was provided by HHPH Founder, Dr. Olajide Williams, Dr. Melissa Stockwell and HHPH Advisory Board member Dr. Monique Hedmann-Maxey. Philanthropic support for the initiative has been provided by The Skoll Foundation, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Dalio Center for Health Justice at NewYork-Presbyterian, and Columbia Community Service. To learn more, please visit www.hhph.org and follow HHPH on social at @hhphorg #CommunityImmunity
About Hip Hop Public Health
Based in New York City, Hip Hop Public Health was founded in Harlem in 2004 with the mission to empower youth around the country – and the globe— with the knowledge and skills to make healthier choices, reducing preventable health conditions and the rising tide of childhood obesity.
Through a research-driven developmental process created by Columbia University Neurologist Dr. Olajide Williams (a.k.a. the “Hip Hop Doc”), Hip Hop Public Health works with socially conscious artists and musicians to create scalable, highly engaging, culturally relevant music and multimedia “edutainment” tools designed to improve youth health literacy and promote health equity. HHPH used validated models of behavior change and evidenced-based research to develop original content and are committed to an iterative cycle of program evaluation, academic research and resource refinement. We aim to make the healthy choice the cool choice.
The Hip Hop Public Health team, led by physical education veteran and public health leader Lori Rose Benson, is a collective comprised of not only health and education professionals (including nutritionists, public health researchers, teachers, physicians, behavioral scientists, and a student advisory board), but also proven-successful multi-media professionals and A-list iconic rap stars and pop artists including Doug E. Fresh, Chuck D, DMC of Run DMC, Ashanti, Jordin Sparks, as well children’s television writers/producers (formerly of Sesame Street).
HHPH is proud to partner locally, regionally and internationally to empower health focused organizations and stakeholders to adopt and adapt Hip Hop Public Health resources and infuse them into youth health and wellness programming and initiatives. All HHPH music, videos, comic books, video games and guidance documents are available for free and can be accessed on its online resource repository.
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SOURCE Hip Hop Public Health