Honourable senators, the This Is Our Shot campaign was officially launched on Wednesday, April 28. It is a national grassroots movement aiming to eliminate vaccine hesitancy.
The This Is Our Shot campaign was born from the desire to ensure that public health messaging is reaching underserved and vulnerable communities. It was created by a coalition of organizations from across the country, including the Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Task Force, the BlackNorth Initiative, the South Asian COVID Task Force, Siksika Health Services, Black Physicians of Canada, the Latin American COVID-19 Task Force, Entripy, 19 to Zero and Kids Help Phone.
Honourable senators, racialized communities are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Although race-based data is not consistently available across Canada, a report published by the Public Health Agency of Canada in February 2021 looked at surveillance data from Ottawa and Toronto and highlighted that COVID-19 cases are 1.5 to 5 times higher among racialized populations than non-racialized populations in these two cities. This is a direct reflection of the inequities that exist within health care systems, as well as social and economic factors, including income, education, housing and employment.
It is for this reason the This Is Our Shot campaign is so important. It is absolutely essential that we break both cultural and language barriers to ensure that the message of getting a vaccine as soon as it is your turn reaches racialized communities. All of us need to be vaccinated for all of us to be safe.
That is why I’m so impressed by the work being done through the This Is Our Shot campaign. In addition to organizers hosting virtual town halls and special activities with doctors and health specialists, the This Is Our Shot campaign website also provides a wealth of useful information in 27 languages.
Honourable senators, for over a year now front-line workers have been working tirelessly to protect Canadians. They have sacrificed time with their families so that, one day soon, we can once again hug our loved ones. I look forward to the day I can hug my grandchildren.
Now is the time to help front-line workers. We all must work together to protect our families and our communities.
This is our shot. Getting vaccinated will keep our communities safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19.