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         

LESLEY LUTES, professor, psychology, director, Centre for Obesity and well-being Research Cxcellence (CORE), University of British Columbia


MELISSA SHAW, SFU  Communications & Marketing 
236.880.3297 |

Simon Fraser University
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