Get to know featured Immunization Ambassador Erika Edmiston, a vaccination activist from Jackson, Wyoming, who has been one of IA’s strongest supporters since the very beginning.
- How long have you been involved with Immunization Ambassadors?
I guess you could say I’ve been involved since the beginning, though I can’t take any credit for the idea or all of the work that went into launching the program. I am proud to say I was one of the first to sign on and I hope I’ve helped promote the message in a positive way online and in my community.
- Can you tell me more about your background? Have you always been passionate about vaccine advocacy?
I’m a mother of two great kids, living in Jackson, Wyoming. My degree is in science education and I work for our local weed and pest district focusing on invasive species and mosquito control—specifically for West Nile virus prevention and public health. I came about vaccine advocacy quite by accident, but have always trusted science and felt strongly about the importance of vaccines. I never hesitated to follow the vaccine schedule recommended by my children’s pediatrician and I know my own mother did the same. I also found it concerning when I would see anti-science/anti-vaccine messaging online. Even if the person was inadvertently sharing misinformation, it was troubling to see the harm it could cause to public health. So, it was an easy decision for me when I signed up for Immunization Ambassadors. I hoped that in my own small way I could be a positive influence on the health of my friends, family and community.
- What’s your favorite part about being an Immunization Ambassador?
What an amazing community! I love being part of IA. I’ve met some really interesting, passionate people who are a positive influence in people’s lives every day with the work they do. The knowledge I’ve gained from working with other Ambassadors and engaging with their information and online posts is fantastic.
- What advice do you have for dispelling misinformation that the anti-vaxxer community promotes?
This is such a tough question and I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that the more accurate and scientifically sound information being shared, the better. That’s one key role an Immunization Ambassador can play, whether you are a public health professional or not.
- Why is it important for people to know the truth about vaccines and know how to spot misinformation?
I think we’ve all seen how dangerous misinformation can be during the pandemic. It is critically important for public health that people are receiving accurate information about vaccines—from valid sources—so they can make informed decisions and trust that the decision to vaccinate is backed up by the best available science.
- What do you think is the most important thing for people to know about vaccines?
They are safe and critically important for the health and well-being of our families.
- Have you had the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine yet?
Not yet, but I can’t wait to do my part to put this pandemic behind us!*
*Editor’s Note: Since conducting this interview, Erika got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and is awaiting her second shot. Way to go Erika!!!
- Why do you plan on getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
I’ll get the COVID-19 vaccine for the same reason I get other vaccines. If getting vaccinated can protect my friends and family and ultimately contribute to an end to this pandemic or prevent future pandemics, I’m all in. It’s a small ask for a chance to contribute to the greater good.
- Once you are vaccinated/the pandemic is over, what are you looking forward to the most?
I cannot wait to travel again to visit friends, family and co-workers. It’s amazing what we took for granted before all of this happened. I miss them all terribly.
- Why do you vax?
I vaccinate because I trust science and want nothing more than for my family to live healthy, happy lives. Doing the right thing for my family will also contribute to the health of our community as well as protect our friends and neighbors. #WhyIVax
- What advice would you give to others who want to become more involved with IA and immunization advocacy in general?
Just do it! We need all of the positive messaging we can get out there and the more the merrier! You can be as engaged as you want or as time allows. There’s absolutely no pressure to post or engage. Immunization Ambassadors provides great tools and resources so you can share as little or as much as you like. I know some Ambassadors who simply lead by doing.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Get your Covid vaccine ASAP! Let’s put this pandemic behind us.
Getting involved with Immunization Ambassadors is easy! Plus, Ambassadors have the opportunity to win great prizes, earn points and discounts that can be redeemed at our online store, and be part of an amazing community and mission. You could even be featured in a future Immunization Ambassador spotlight on our blog! Click here to sign-up today…and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates and information on the COVID-19 vaccine + access to other great immunization resources and educational tools!