June 9, 2022

RELEASE: Maryland Department of Health launches new GoVAX campaign featuring Maryland families stressing the importance of vaccinating against COVID

Families across the state share reasons why they got vaccinated  

Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) launched a new series of television, radio and social media ads today featuring Maryland families from across the state, who share their reasons for vaccinating against COVID-19. The new series is part of the state's ongoing GoVAX campaign.

“We want parents and guardians to hear from other families about the choices they made to protect themselves and their families. They need to be able to make informed choices based on their own research and information available about safety and effectiveness,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “Marylanders want to do what they can to protect themselves and their communities, and most agree vaccines are our best defense against COVID-19.” 

Families featured in the “Real Families” videos tell varied stories about their reasons for vaccinating, including continuity of childcare, returning to school, resuming extracurricular activities and attending family gatherings. Some said they wanted to help protect other family members with medical conditions or who are immunocompromised.

“We got vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as we could and got our daughter, Rosie, vaccinated within a few weeks of the vaccine coming out for kids,” said Ginny Shenk of Eldersburg. “Having our whole family vaccinated against COVID-19 gives us a level of comfort and safety.” 

“The children’s activities were put on hold during COVID, and now that they have their vaccines, they are back to their activities,” said Archana Awosika of Silver Spring.

Andrew Shannon, Director of the Cambridge Empowerment Center, runs a resource center that gives children a safe place to play and learn while their parents and guardians work. “When we had to close because of COVID, life became harder for everyone. The vaccines were huge. They let us re-open our doors and get people’s lives back on track,” Shannon said.

In May 2021, children aged 12 to 17 were authorized for COVID vaccines, and children 5 to 11 became eligible in October 2021. Authorization for children 6 months and up is expected to be approved next week.   

To date, nearly half of Maryland children aged 5 to 11 have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, more than 83 percent of the 12- to 15-year-olds have received at least one dose and nearly 88 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds. 

"We continue to reach out to parents and guardians through our GoVAX campaign, pediatricians’ practices, school and childcare settings and other means to encourage vaccinations," said Dr. Jinlene Chan, MDH’s Deputy Secretary of Public Health. "Although most children get fairly mild cases if infected, some can become very sick from COVID. We know that vaccines are the best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death."

The state’s multifaceted GoVAX campaign, which began in January 2021, has featured TV, radio, outdoor and digital advertising, social media, grassroots outreach through door-to-door canvassing, virtual town halls, the use of sound trucks in targeted neighborhoods, and community-based messaging through doctors’ offices, barbershops, salons and movie theaters.

GoVAX encourages all Marylanders to protect themselves, their families and their communities by getting vaccinated and boosted. Under the GoVAX umbrella, the “Real Families” campaign includes families from Baltimore, Carroll, Montgomery, Anne Arundel and Dorchester counties and follows the successful “Real Kids” campaign, released in January 2022, that featured children under age 12 stating in their own words why they got vaccinated.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and the GoVAX campaign, visit covidLINK.maryland.gov.

For the most recent Maryland COVID-19 vaccine data, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov


The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement. 


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