Vaccine story translation project reaches marginalized communities about COVID-19 shots in New Jersey
In partnership with NorthJersey.com, stories about vaccine distribution were translated into 9 languages and published in 12 ethnic news outlets across the state
Despite the aggressive vaccination plan that President Joe Biden unveiled during his first full day in office — vowing to get “at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of the American people” and set up federally run vaccination sites in public places —states across the U.S. are struggling to get people vaccinated. The process to get a vaccine varies by state and supplies are still low.
New Jersey is no different. Here there have been complaints about a disconnected system, a lack of access to immunization sites, and confusing information on how and where to register to get the vaccine. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy defended the state’s efforts, saying the vaccination sign-up system is a process that is still being refined and asked for New Jerseyans’ patience.
It’s important to recognize that the barriers and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine are far greater in ethnic and immigrant communities across the state. Blacks, Latinos and Asians in New Jersey are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at dramatically lower rates than whites in the first several weeks of the chaotic rollout.
According to Dr. David Adinaro, deputy commissioner for Public Health Services at the New Jersey Department of Health, as of January 25 about 550,000 New Jerseyans had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
But white residents in New Jersey are being vaccinated at significantly higher rates (41 percent) than Black (4.2 percent), Latino (6.1 percent) and Asian (7.2 percent) residents, according to the analysis presented by Dr. Adinaro — and, in many counties across New Jersey, two to three times higher.
All of this makes getting facts about the vaccine in front of communities of color even more urgent.
That’s why in late December the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University partnered with NorthJersey.com to translate some of its vaccine-related content into multiple languages for use by ethnic media outlets across the state.
“If you ask many members of the Pakistani community in New Jersey about the [state’s] vaccine plan, you’d most likely get a blank face. They don’t really know, unless someone [they know] from the market or mosque tell them — and the information may not be accurate,” said Mohsin Zaheer, publisher and editor of Urdu News USA.
The stories included “The COVID vaccine has arrived in NJ. What to know about when, where to get it” and “COVID vaccine in NJ: Who gets it first? When can U sign up? Where can I get the shot?”. Those two stories were combined into one by the Center.
Thanks to funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Center paid reporters and editors at several publications to translate the combined story. By the end of January 2021, the story was translated into nine languages and published by 12 ethnic news outlets, including:
- Amerikai Nepszava, Hungarian
- Urdu News USA, Pakistani
- Reporte Hispano, Latino
- The Korea Daily, Korean
- Brazilian Press, Brazilian
- Gujurat Darpan, Gujarati
- Hispano New Jersey, Latino
- Sing Tao Daily, Chinese
- Zaman Amerika, Turkish
- Bangla Patrika, Bangladeshi
- The Latino Spirit, Latino
- OSM! Magazine, Filipino
“[The Korea Daily] received several calls from our readers following up on where to find vaccination sites, how to register online, how much of the vaccine is getting to New Jersey, and who are the priority groups to get the vaccine,” said Jongwon Lee, a reporter for The Korea Daily.
About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism and support an informed society in New Jersey and beyond. The Center is supported with general operational funding from Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab (a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Community Foundation of New Jersey), and the Abrams Foundation. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.