If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it was the power of working together. From essential workers to community organizations, we have all done our part to weather one of the worst episodes in the history of global public health.
One of the most important roles, and one of the most impacted, was that of mothers. That’s why celebrity actress America Ferrera has joined forces with HHS’s “We Can Do This” public education campaign to increase public confidence in vaccines and primary prevention measures.
Through a national network of trusted messengers and consistent, fact-based public health messages, the campaign helps the public make informed decisions about their health and COVID-19, including measures to protect themselves and their communities.
The effort is based on communication science and provides information tailored to at-risk groups.
For America Ferrera, the pandemic has been a pivotal moment in her life as a mother. In an interview with Kanika Chadda-Gupta, the Latina actress said that, like everyone else, the pandemic taught her the value of community.
“I’ve always valued my community and […] held my people close,” she said. “But I had a newborn child at the beginning of the pandemic, which can be an isolating experience on a good day.”
Ferrera explained how the need to isolate herself during the pandemic, for the sake of her health and that of her newborn child, impacted her need for a community and a support system.
“A mother who is recovering from giving birth, who has a newborn baby, and a toddler who has needs…it was a lot to go through alone,” she continued. “The last two years [have] embodied the experience of [being] isolated from your community. It really changes [your perspective].”
“I think it has really changed for good how I look at and value my community,” she added.
Because of her experience, Ferrera has added her voice to the “We Can Do This” campaign, an effort that focuses on Americans who want to protect their health but may have questions about COVID-19 vaccines.
“I want to make sure that I’m investing the time, energy, and thought into the things that truly bring real value to my life and my children’s lives,” Ferrera said. “There’s no rule book to parenting, as we all know, so it’s really important to find reliable information when we’re making the most important decisions.”
“We Can Do This” is expanding its reach by engaging a wide range of groups and individuals, including trusted community organizations, local leaders, and others who share the goal of increasing vaccine confidence and acceptance.
“[As parents], we seek out reliable information from our pediatrician first and foremost, constantly speaking about not just the choice of vaccinations but whether or not to send [our children] back to school, whether or not to take that trip to see grandma and grandpa, whether it’s safe for me and my husband who are vaccinated to do certain things.”
“It’s a constant reevaluation,” America Ferrera added. “The math is a little bit different when you have those unvaccinated young children at home.”
The actress went on to explain her experience as a mother explaining to her young son why their lives had changed during the quarantine time, but also assured that “it’s also an incredible opportunity to teach him about taking care of others, and to model and ask our children to be the kinds of citizens in the world that we want them to be.”
“The one comfort to me has been that none of us is in this alone,” she concluded. “We’re all in this together, and none of us have to make these hard, difficult decisions alone.”
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