media release

New app aims to address misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines

May 09, 2022

A new initiative launches this week to engage young adults and provide accurate information to encourage them to get vaccinated and obtain their booster shots.

“New variants of COVID continue to emerge and we know that those who are unvaccinated are at a higher risk of hospitalization and potentially having long COVID,” says Simon Fraser University health sciences professor and project co-lead Scott Lear. “By using gaming technology, this app supports young adults in making informed choices that will protect their health and offer greater protection to the community as a whole as we head into the busy summer travel season.”

The game is called COVID Chronicles and was designed with input from the research team’s Young Adult Advisory Group. COVID Chronicles (previously STOP COVID!) was pilot tested in late 2021 at five cafes across the Lower Mainland and will be available province wide starting May 9.

COVID Chronicles can be accessed by scanning a QR code from advertisements on buses, SkyTrains, social media, restaurants and cafes.

“Through this app, we hope to give young adults a safe but also fun way to explore their concerns, worries, and understanding about vaccinations – all aimed at building their autonomy and empowering them to make informed choices,” says project co-lead, University of British Columbia psychology professor Lesley Lutes, based on UBC’s Okanagan campus.

The project’s goal is to increase vaccination uptake among young adults across B.C. by building vaccine confidence through the gamified app. The app informs and tests the users’ knowledge of vaccines and how they work through a series of questions. After completing the quiz, each participant will be entered into a draw to win a $25 gift card for restaurants and cafes.

The initiative builds on their existing research into vaccine hesitancy and echoes remarks from the CEO of the Canadian Psychological Association Karen Cohen, who recently spoke to the House of Commons on the issue. Cohen noted that different approaches are needed to increase vaccine uptake, such as dialogue and education, which may work for people who are afraid of, or lack trust in vaccines.

Researchers will measure the impact of COVID Chronicles through online surveys, interviews and follow-ups on vaccination status.

For interviews, contact:

SCOTT LEAR, professor, health sciences & Pfizer/Heart & Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research, Simon Fraser University                  
slear@providencehealth.bc.ca

LESLEY LUTES, professor, psychology, director, Centre for Obesity and well-being Research Cxcellence (CORE), University of British Columbia
llutes@mail.ubc.ca

CONTACT 

MELISSA SHAW, SFU  Communications & Marketing 
236.880.3297 | melissa_shaw@sfu.ca

Simon Fraser University
Communications & Marketing |  SFU Media Experts Directory
778.782.3210

ABOUT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU works with communities, organizations and partners to create, share and embrace knowledge that improves life and generates real change. We deliver a world-class education with lifelong value that shapes change-makers, visionaries and problem-solvers. We connect research and innovation to entrepreneurship and industry to deliver sustainable, relevant solutions to today’s problems. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities—Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey—SFU has eight faculties that deliver 193 undergraduate degree programs and 144 graduate degree programs to more than 37,000 students. The university now boasts more than 170,000 alumni residing in 145+ countries.

ABOUT UBC OKANAGAN

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose traditional, ancestral and unceded territory the campus resides. The most established and influential global rankings all consistently place UBC in the top five per cent of universities in the world, and among the top three Canadian universities.

The Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. For more visit ok.ubc.ca.

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