Toronto to extend work of its COVID-19 Vaccine Engagement Teams (VETs) to Dec 2022

COVID-19 Vaccine Engagement Teams Credit: Twitter Handle of John Tory

Toronto/CMEDIA: To ensure continued opportunities to increase vaccine equity and access for all residents, Toronto Mayor John Tory made an announcement on May 20 regarding the City of Toronto’s extending the work of its COVID-19 Vaccine Engagement Teams (VETs) to December 2022.

Operating through 17 geographic and population-based consortiums made up of over 200 health, community, and faith-based organizations, the teams, including over 600 community ambassadors are engaged in helping residents get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Our Vaccine Engagement Teams have helped Toronto achieve world-leading vaccination rates…extending the work of these teams to the end of the year to make sure these vaccination outreach efforts continue through the summer and into the fall…community agencies and ambassadors for making a tremendous difference in your communities and for your ongoing efforts in the months ahead,” said Tory in a news release.

The program’s extension will ensure the continuity of this vital work beyond July and up to the end of December 2022.

An evaluation of the VETs program, a key component of the world-leading success and impact of the City’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, found that it has been an effective strategy for increasing vaccine confidence, and access uptake among diverse communities across Toronto, and reducing socioeconomic barriers to government services.

The VETs and community ambassadors have spent more than 70,000 hours building vaccine confidence since the program’s launch in March 2021, engaging with Torontonians more than 2.3 million times in over 40 different languages.

A report asking the Medical Officer of Health, in partnership with Social Development, Finance, and Administration to extend the VETs program was approved earlier this week by the Board of Health until at least December 31, 2022, and to review its further extension to support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, while continuing to submit associated expenditures to the Ministry of Health for reimbursement.

After first launching in March 2021, the vaccine engagement teams have already been extended once with City continuing to submit costs for the program to the province as part of its ongoing COVID-19 response.

Encouraged to receive all COVID-19 doses as soon as Toronto residents are eligible, including all booster doses (third and fourth doses), for the best protection against COVID-19. According to the recent data residents who kept up-to-date with their vaccinations are better protected against serious consequences linked to the virus, compared to those who are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.

First, second, third, and fourth doses are available by appointment or walk-in across the five City immunization clinics. More than 525 local pharmacies, Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, select primary care offices, and other Team Toronto health care partner clinics are offering COVID-19 doses to residents of Toronto.

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