City of Toronto awards $5.5 million in COVID-19 Vaccine Engagement Teams Grants to local agencies for vaccine outreach in vulnerable communities
A key part of the Vaccine Engagement Teams’ work is recruiting 280 resident ambassadors – local and trusted leaders in communities across the city, who have on-the-ground relationships and networks in the neighbourhoods where they work and live. These multi-lingual ambassadors will work with community agencies to reach out and make connections in their areas, and provide information about and connections to vaccination options. They will be trained by behavioural scientists on information about COVID-19 vaccines, common vaccine concerns and other COVID-19 risk reduction strategies, and will act as local contacts for residents.
In Toronto, Rexdale Community Health Centre, Black Creek Community Health Centre and the United Way are partnering for a resident ambassador program to help with vaccine rollout.
This pilot combines trusted community ambassadors with local, accessible testing and on-site vaccination to get the word out, improve vaccine confidence and get people vaccinated. In fact, the City of Toronto’s newly announced COVID-19 Vaccine Engagement Teams Grants will build on this model. They will also be coordinating the vaccination efforts by leveraging the strength of our co-led community coordination tables that convene regional and municipal partners, and local community agencies, to understand needs on the ground and deliver a coordinated response.