Today, Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto is extending the work of its COVID-19 Vaccine Engagement Teams (VETs) to December 2022, ensuring continued opportunities to increase vaccine equity and access for all residents.
The teams operate through 17 geographic and population-based consortiums made up of over 200 health, community and faith-based organizations, including over 600 community ambassadors working to help residents get vaccinated against COVID-19. Extending the program will ensure that this vital work can continue beyond July and up to the end of December 2022.
VETs have been a key component of the world-leading success and impact of the City’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign. A program evaluation found that VETs have been an effective strategy for increasing vaccine confidence, access uptake among diverse communities across Toronto, and reducing socioeconomic barriers to government services.
Since the program’s launch in March 2021, the VETs and community ambassadors have spent more than 70,000 hours building vaccine confidence, and have engaged with Torontonians more than 2.3 million times in over 40 different languages. More information about VETs is available on the City’s COVID-19: Vaccine Engagement Teams webpage.
Earlier this week, the Board of Health approved a report asking the Medical Officer of Health, in partnership with Social Development, Finance and Administration, to extend the VETs program until at least December 31, 2022, and to continue to review and further extend the program as required to support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, while continuing to submit associated expenditures to the Ministry of Health for reimbursement.
The vaccine engagement teams have already been extended once since they were first launched in March 2021. The City is continuing to submit costs for the program to the province as part of its ongoing COVID-19 response.
Toronto residents are encouraged to receive all COVID-19 doses as soon as they are eligible, including all booster doses (third and fourth doses), for the best protection against COVID-19. Recent data shows that 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. Residents can also get their doses at more than 525 local pharmacies that are offering the COVID-19 vaccine, Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, select primary care offices and other Team Toronto health care partner clinics.
More information is available on the City’s COVID-19: How to Get Vaccinated webpage.
“Our Vaccine Engagement Teams have helped Toronto achieve world-leading vaccination rates and are a key part of our overall Team Toronto effort to confront COVID-19. We are further 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. This helps protect our progress and will help make sure as many people as possible across our city have the help they need to access the COVID-19 vaccine and keep up-to-date on their doses. Thank you to all community agencies and ambassadors for making a tremendous difference in your communities and for your ongoing efforts in the months ahead.”
– Mayor John Tory
“We would not be where we are today without the tremendous work achieved through our City’s Vaccine Engagement Teams and community ambassadors. We are so pleased to see this critical program extended today, so that we can continue to reach local, equity-deserving communities and ensure they get vaccinated and remain healthy. Thank you to all the engagement teams for your continued role in providing access and removing barriers.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.