City of Toronto announces formation of a COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Working Group
TDS News – Today, the City of Toronto is providing additional details on efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy led by the City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Working Group.
“We are doing everything we can as a municipal government to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as the vaccine supply allows. The City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Working Group is doing important work addressing vaccine hesitancy so that everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated actually gets their shot. The sooner that people are vaccinated, the sooner we will bring this pandemic to an end.”– Mayor John Tory
The COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Working Group is implementing a multi-sectoral approach to boost vaccine confidence in Toronto, including among health care professionals and communities with historically low vaccination rates. This work is informed through the use of an equity lens and an understanding of the cultural, religious and historical contexts that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy.
To achieve confidence in the city, the Working Group will collaborate with community partners to empower them to talk about vaccines to their clients and communities. The Working Group also serves as a forum to share information among City divisions, ensure consistent messaging across the organization and identify and discuss the latest evidence and challenges.
The Working Group meets regularly and has been doing so since January. To date, the group has:
- Developed presentations and resources for long-term care home staff aimed at increasing uptake of vaccination among staff.
- Trained COVID-19 Hotline staff so that they can provide support to members of the public seeking vaccine information.
- Provided training to more than 800 community ambassadors and agency staff virtually to build vaccine trust and support the public in making an informed decision about COVID-19 vaccination.
The Working group comprises public health experts within the City of Toronto. It is chaired by Dr. Vinita Dubey, Associate Medical Officer of Health, and comprises staff from the Immunization Task Force, COVID-19 Liaison team, Emergency Operations Centre, COVID-19 Planning, COVID-19 Operations and Strategic Support and Communications.
These members support COVID-19 health promotion efforts targeting seniors, long-term care homes, community partner agencies, physicians and healthcare providers and the general public.
Vaccine hesitancy can be influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience and confidence in the vaccine. Misinformation, especially on social media, may contribute to hesitancy. For many racialized groups, vaccine hesitancy can be based on a long history of mistrust of government and health care institutions.