SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — To date, around 56% of Iowans have been fully vaccinated, ranking the state 25th in the country.

On December 3, 2020, the four Catholic Bishops of Iowa released a statement encouraging their parishioners to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it was made available to them. Nearly a year later, they’re taking a different approach.

That different approach is the release of a public awareness campaign centered around the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. The statement the four bishops released last December in part read:

“There is encouraging news about the development and distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus. Thanks be to God.”

However, Iowans are still lagging behind other parts of the country including just over 47% of the population in Woodbury County fully vaccinated. Dawn Prosser, communications director at the Diocese of Sioux City, was part of this collaborative effort that brought the campaign to life and she spoke on the origins of the idea.

“Kent Farris who’s with the Diocese of Davenport and the Catholic Charities had the brainstorm of let’s include all of the Dioceses and have a more powerful message. Have all four Bishops come together and give their seal of approval to this,” said Prosser.

The videos will be rolling out over the next few weeks and feature Iowans from every walk of life from farmers to a factory worker from Laos, and everything in between, all telling their personal stories.

“We have gotten messages in English, Spanish, Lao just reiterating that ‘Hey, this is my story and this is how COVID affected me and my family and this is why I believe in the vaccine so here’s the information so you can make your decision,” said Prosser.

Prosser spoke on why the Diocese wanted to include testimonials from a variety of personalities.

“Just to really show the beautiful diversity of our state and our communities not just here in northwest Iowa but also throughout the entire state. We’re just really proud of the fact that that was able to come together,” said Prosser.

The full PSAs released so far from the Iowa Catholic Conference can be found here.