In The Community

IN THE COMMUNITY – By Disaster Manager, Diane Gordon (March 5, 2021)

The Bermuda Red Cross in partnership with Bermuda Broadcasting Company Limited has engaged in a six week “Self Help Covid” Radio Session to help and advocate Government’s efforts of reaching out to our most vulnerable communities to educate and inform about the COVID-19 vaccine.  We hope this will greatly assist the Government in reaching their 70% vaccine quota and therefore reducing the severity of impact of COVID-19 should another surge occur.
As Disaster Manager for the Bermuda Red Cross, it is about telling a story so that the average community member will be provided with accurate information that will enable them to make a decision regarding the vaccine which is applicable to them.  Our focus is not to force them to get the vaccine but based upon the “scaremongering tactics” on social media, we are in fact providing them with accurate information that Government has said since day one….we are an auxiliary to Government in times of disasters, emergencies and crises and therefore we want to reinforce Government’s message and guidelines.
Saying that, we have been on radio three times per week (Monday, 7.30 am:  Ocean 89FM; Wednesday. 8.45 am: Power 95FM, and Friday, 7:15 am:  Inspire 105FM) since Monday, February 22nd 2021 and will continue until April 1st 2021.  
Weekly radio sessions include;
Week 1 (February 22nd, 24th and 26th) focused on Introduction and Overview as to why we are doing this then focused on an overview of the vaccine, stats behind the vaccine and a scientific look at the various vaccines available.  We were pleased to have Dr. Ayoola Oyinloye, Chief Medical Officer, KEMH presenting at one session and Dr. Carika Weldon, Science Advisor to Government on another.  
Week 2 (March 1st, 3rd and 5th) focused on Communications and Delivering Accurate Information to community.  We started the week explaining the vaccination process from start to finish including the legal consent form.  This allowed those “sitting on the fence” to hear first hand what they can expect to encounter from those on the ground.  On Wednesday, March 3rd Robin Simmons II, Corporate Communications, BPS and seconded to DCI during pandemic discussed the importance of delivering the message from multiple sources to communities during a world wide pandemic.   This morning, our own, Communications Manager, Claire-Anne Raynor, talked about Bermuda Red Cross’ role of ensuring information is “as mirrored by Government” so that communities avoid mixed messages and the difficulty of controlling social media spread to avoid inaccurate information being shared.
Week 3 (March 8th, 10th and 12th) will hear from representatives from the Church, Sporting Organisations and Teacher.  
Week 4 (March 15th, 17th and 19th) is going to be focused on testimonials from people who have had the vaccine or who originally were against the vaccine but after conducting their own due diligence or from hearing from Government’s various communication messages have changed their mind and why.  I am working with Aderonke Bademosi Wilson to provide me with persons who have a connection with the community to be a part of this.
Week 5 (March 22nd, 24th and 26th) will allow other Caribbean representatives from Red Cross to talk about impact in their area and reaction from community about vaccine.  Two of three speakers worked in Bermuda and are now back in Barbados and Cayman.  
Week 6 (March 29th 31st and 1st April)  Future of Travel and what that will mean for us.  On Monday, March 29th, Aaron Adderley will be speaking on the future of travel and to reinforce that guidelines will more than likely change and travelling will come with its own set of rules and regulations.  
On March 31st Glenn Jones will talk about the impact for Bermuda if we dont move forward and re-think the way we welcome visitors to our Island despite COVID and what it will be like for our Bermudian community NOT to travel off this tiny Island and what they have to do to ensure a new sense of normalcy!!  I am really hitting at something that Bermudians LOVE to do….TRAVEL…..AND, what we depend upon for our livelihood……TOURISM!!
Final session on 1st April will have Bermuda Red Cross summarizing the six-week radio sessions.