Women, mothers in particular, take on multiple roles – mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and the list can go on but one Mommy Blogger from Bacolod City took on yet another role to add on to the list, a vaccine advocate.
Maria Sigrid Lo, a mother of two, together with her husband Dennis, took a personal crusade at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, using her blog platforms www.lovinglymama.com, www.sigridsays.com and her personal social media handles to convince as many Bacolodnons to avail of free anti-COVID-19 vaccines as her campaign hashtag #GetVaxxedBCD suggests.
Mommy Sigrid’s #GetVaxxedBCD campaign was turned into a passion campaign after losing both in-laws to COVID-19. Both are unvaccinated and spent 30 days fighting the virus at the height of the Delta Variant.
According to Mommy Sigrid, the #GetVaxxedBCD campaign came about during the darkest time in her family. The Lo’s are business owners in Bacolod City and they exercised safety protocols and implemented the necessary changes in their business environment, but the elderly couple – the in-laws of Mommy
Sigrid had their reservations about the COVID vaccine and their uncertainties were greatly influenced by the proliferation of fake news and conspiracy theories being spread on social media and in private groups.
The vaccination advocacy campaign, which has solicited factual information from experts, got responses including bashers who were mostly non-believers of the vaccines, but this has driven more undecided Bacolodnons to take the shot.
“We had a vaccinologist, doctors, and other medical professionals as sources. We used different avenues to disseminate messages regarding the vaccines as well as vaccination schedules. But then the bashings came. We were even blamed for infecting my in-laws with COVID because we were vaccinated. Anti-vaccine people unfriended me or even blocked me on social media. I gained enemies. With my husband’s support, we persisted in the information campaign because we believed in the information we are sharing, which was backed by science,” Mommy Sigrid said.
One year later, that same #GetVaxxedBCD vaccination advocacy campaign brought Mommy Sigrid to the halls of the Little Theatre of the University of the Philippines Visayas in Iloilo City to receive not just one but three awards for the 1st Bantala UPV Media Excellence Awards – and a lone Bacolodnon awardee for the whole Western Visayas.
Mommy Sigrid bagged three of the 10 awards namely- Story of the Year for Blog, In-Depth Report of the Year for Blog, and In-Depth Report of the Year for Social Media given by the Bantala awards which seeks to recognize outstanding media practitioners in the region, as the name suggests “Bantala,” which means to announce and publish Ilonggo journalists in the likes of Graciano Lopez-Jaena, Flavio Zarragoza Cano, and Conrado Norada.
Bantala proponents UPV Chancellor Dr. Clement Camposano and Project Development Assistant for Mass Media and Communications of the Office of the Chancellor Dr. Zoilo Andrada who conceptualized the search, look for entries that are expected to address the challenges of Deepening Participatory Democracy, Protecting Human Rights, Addressing Various Forms of Social and Cultural Marginalization and Fighting Against Disinformation.
“The free, unfettered flow of information (is) instrumental to a free society. We naively look forward to a new era of political freedom. However, the difference nowadays is that information is digitally-enabled. Instead of us searching for information, information finds us because of social media algorithms. This is where modern journalists come in: to fight misinformation with fact-checking initiatives. They are not only learning to use digital platforms but also acquiring the technical skills necessary to operate in this new ecosystem,” Camposano said.
“In my own little way, I wanted to help fight the disinformation regarding the vaccine and help the government’s efforts
to achieve a safer society. My own children have read books and articles on medical history and they have watched TED Talks on the vaccine. At a young age, they are able to make the decision for themselves to get vaccinated in order to be protected from the debilitating or even deadly effects of the coronavirus. With this, I passionately campaigned for the vaccine through my social media posts. No hate, just information to convince people to get vaccinated,” Mommy Sigrid shared.
For Mommy Sigrid and her family, they feel safer nowadays, because most people are vaccinated, people still wear masks, and the cases are down and would hear from frontliner friends that the COVID wards situation and their workplaces are no longer as toxic.
Freelance writer, blogger, wife, daughter, sister, friend and mother Mommy Sigrid said these blessings are extra sweeter as this falls on the celebration of the National Women’s Month. (AAL/EAD/PIA6 Negros Occidental)