B.C. researchers are hoping a video game style series of questions and answers will entice young adults to educate themselves further on COVID-19 and vaccines.
The Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia team came up with the idea after hearing from young people that they felt like their concerns around vaccination weren’t being heard.
“What they wanted is to have active discussions instead of just being lectured,” UBC psychology professor and project co-lead Lesley Lute said. She said public health messaging during the pandemic has often taken the “shame and blame” approach and neglected to build vital trust and respect.
The game, COVID Chronicles, aims to fill that gap. Lute and her fellow researchers spent months working on the project and running focus groups with young adults to ensure the final product was something they would feel good engaging with.
As of Monday (May 9), the game is available through QR codes posted on every bus stop in B.C., as well as numerous cafes and restaurants, and on the SkyTrain.
When people access the game, they are posed with a question about their current feelings on vaccination, from “I have no intention of getting the vaccine,” to “I am fully vaxxed and boosted.” Depending on their answer, the person is presented with a different series of trivia or true or false questions that both feel out what their concerns are and present factual information.
If players get the question correct, they’re rewarded with a stream of animated coins. Either way, the answer is revealed, with the scientific reason backing it up.
At the end, players have the option to partake in a short survey and agree to a follow up one in two months in exchange for being entered to win a gift card.
“We really wanted it to be a safe place to communicate their concerns in a fun way,” Lute said. “I hope they feel now that academics are interested in having an active, engage dialogue with them. This is about building trust and respect, and for them to know we value their opinion and concerns.”
If all goes well, the team hopes to expand their idea beyond B.C. and to other age groups as well.
COVID Chronicles can be found at covidchroniclesbc.ca/?v=17.
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