New maternal health video series addresses COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

Apr. 5, 2022

Current and expectant mothers lead design of content to alleviate fears about COVID vaccine before, during, and after pregnancy

New York, NY – The New York Vaccine Literacy Campaign at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) has collaborated with Health Leads to produce a series of powerful testimonial videos featuring three new mothers sharing why they got the COVID-19 vaccine. The videos are the result of a series of participatory workshops with community-based maternal health practitioners and clients who are working to overcome vaccine hesitancy among new and expectant mothers. 

Available on the CUNY SPH and Health Leads YouTube channels, the videos address commonly asked questions and concerns among mothers regarding  getting vaccinated  while pregnant and breastfeeding, misconceptions about the vaccine, and helpful advice for other pregnant people. Designed in partnership with local current and expectant mothers, the collaboration to create the videos aims to serve as an impactful model to raise confidence in vaccination with solutions from and for community partners. 

“It is really important that we included the clients, because sometimes you think you understand something when making decisions or strategies,” said one community member and co-design participant, “It is really important to include people who are ‘going through it’ in the process.” 

The video links and distribution resources can be found in this Social Media Toolkit. The two teams will  support the distribution and wide promotion of these important communication tools through a range of channels. 

“This project was important for the Health Leads team as we recognize the overlap of low vaccination rates in the same neighborhoods where our work focuses due to higher inequities in maternal health outcomes,” said Michelle Zambrano, Program Director at Health Leads New York. “We were excited to incorporate Human Centered Design techniques into the co-design sessions with our community partners and develop a resource that met their vision.”

“We already plan to use this collaborative model again in our future efforts to increase community-based support for vaccine acceptance and education,” said Karen Ortiz, Program Manager of the NY Vaccine Literacy Campaign.  

For more information on this project and the testimonial videos please contact:

For media inquiries contact:
Ariana Costakes
Communications Editorial Manager
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy



The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to promoting and sustaining healthier populations in New York City and around the world through excellence in education, research, and service in public health and by advocating for sound policy and practice to advance social justice and improve health outcomes for all. 

About the NY Vaccine Literacy Campaign

Building upon its commitment to engage New Yorkers to understand how COVID-19 has affected their lives, CUNY SPH launched the New York Vaccine Literacy Campaign in April 2021. The Campaign aims to lighten the load of community and direct service organizations by increasing community-level access to vaccine education and information through tailored webinars, education modules, training, and other capacity-building resources. This work is supported by the New York Community Trust, the Altman Foundation, the New York State Health Foundation, and the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust.

About Health Leads

Health Leads is an innovation hub that seeks to unearth and address the deep societal roots of racial inequity that impact our health. The organization works nationally and locally across the U.S. to build partnerships and redesign systems so that every person, in every community, can live with health, well-being, and dignity. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.