The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Fealofani O Samoa Student Club is raising awareness within the Pacific Islander (PI) community with a new public service announcement (PSA) to encourage COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. The video includes student testimonials about its importance with an infographic on different ways to say “protecting life” in 10 Pacific Islander languages.

The PSA is a collaboration with PEʻA Inc, a recently established non-profit organization to increase college representation of Pacific Islanders in Hawaiʻi, and the John A. Burns School of Medicine. It is part of the Puipuia le Ola (Samoan for “protecting life”) project, which aims to increase the reach and uptake of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations among Pacific Islanders in Hawaiʻi and on Guam.

“The students are our young advocates in the Pacific Islander community who understand the significance of tautua (service),” said project co-investigator and club advisor Tina Tauasosi-Posiulai with the Office of Vice Provost for Student Success. “Samoan students are natural actors and were adamant to do the PSA as their contribution to our efforts to protect the community from being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.”

According to the Hawaiʻi Department of Health in May 2021, Pacific Islanders made up 4% of the state’s population but since the onset of the pandemic, they have accounted for 20% of cases and deaths and 30% of hospitalizations.

The students encourage community members to “spread awareness, not COVID” and to “protect yourselves so you can protect each other.” The PSA will air on ʻŌlelo TVand social media channels.

For information on the Puipuia le Ola project, email puipuia@hawaii.edu.

group of students throwing shakas
The Fealofani O Samoa Student Club at UH Mānoa