The SAY-VAC program was a digital media health program initiated by an interdisciplinary group composed of South Asian health researchers, epidemiologists, medical students and marketing specialists in the private sector. The SAY-VAC program started on 1 September 2021 and was run for 1week (due to financial and timeline constraints as governed by the Public Health Agency of Canada grant that funded the project). A mandatory orientation session was held through video call on Zoom with the study team and 30 youth ambassadors.
The study team introduced the SAY-VAC program and the tools (videos and corresponding information sheet), its objectives and the roles and responsibilities of the youth ambassadors. To create a culturally sensitive video to address current COVID-19 vaccine concerns in the South Asian community, the team obtained feedback from local grass-roots South Asian community organizations. The marketing working group used this information to hold a creative brainstorming session with the full SAY-VAC team to crystallize visuals, colours, and a culturally authentic plot for the video. From this, a storyboard was developed, which was passed along to the video production team to operationalize. The video production team recruited community members reflective of the target audience through personal contacts and social media. Recruited community members were then asked to participate in reading the script onscreen while the video production team developed the corresponding animations and B-roll. Two informational videos were developed: 1) a full English version and 2) a multilingual version interweaving the top four spoken South Asian languages in Canada (Punjabi, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati) as confirmed by Statistics Canada. The videos were uploaded onto YouTube and downloadable compressed versions, which youth ambassadors were encouraged to share in their familial/community networks through WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social media. These videos were intended to be a means through which conversations about the COVID-19 vaccine could be initiated with family/community members and to encourage unvaccinated individuals to consider receiving a vaccine.