FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Talking about the COVID vaccination can be divisive, but the people behind new initiative Bring It Up are hoping to show people that those conversations can be a lot easier when respect is used.
Through targeted ads and media campaigns, Bring It Up is hoping to bring the conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine back to a personal level.
“I think what we are trying to do is acknowledge that the people who haven’t been vaccinated, it’s not because of some of these more negative stereotypes that are out there, but most people just don’t feel comfortable yet,” said Nathan Gotsch, director of Bring It Up. “They haven’t had conversations with people that they trust to answer the questions, the very valid questions that they have about the safety and the efficacy of the vaccines.”
Gotsch said many people likely feel more comfortable discussing it with people they know.
“The way that we make important decisions in our lives is we talk to the people who we already know, who we care about, and whose opinions that we trust,” Gotsch said. “The misinformation has been shared through family and friends on social media, but the information is coming from experts those are not people that we know, personally.”
According to Gotsch what has frequently been shared through family and friends on social media is misinformation. His hope is that the Bring It Up initiative and its online tips and resources will encourage people to lead conversations with kindness and where people share their perspectives while listening respectfully so that those who are vaccine-hesitant can feel comfortable addressing their concerns.
“One of the things that unvaccinated people are feeling right now is alienated and disconnected and judged and people in those positions are not likely to be open to new information,” Gotsch said. “If you can just talk to somebody and ask them what’s going on how they’re feeling about it you may be surprised at their answer, but at the very least, you’re going to be able to build some connection and maybe down the line, you’ll be able to have another conversation, or they’ll maybe even ask you about the things that they’re wondering and worried about.”
To start off their efforts, Gotsch is putting up $1,000 to jumpstart their first phase of outreach. In total, they hope to raise $5,000 to spread their message in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana. Indiana’s vaccination rate was last reported at 49%, with more people getting booster shots than their first dose of the vaccine.
While their goal is to get up Allen County’s vaccination rate, Gotsch said the message is wide-reaching.
“We’re hoping that we can show that this works in Fort Wayne and that other communities will look at what we’re doing and steal it and spread it all across the country,” said Gotsch.
You can check out Bring It Up and make the pledge to talk about the vaccine on their website.