Today, the City of Toronto launched VaxTO, a multi-faceted campaign to connect residents with COVID-19 vaccination appointments and information.
With more than 65 per cent of adults in Toronto vaccinated, the City is doing everything it can as a municipal government to reach out to residents to further encourage them to get their first and second doses of vaccine. The City is committed to reopening but recognizes that the Province's Roadmap to Reopen relies on increasing vaccination rates beyond 70 per cent of eligible adults.
This campaign – which builds on earlier and ongoing outreach efforts – has been launched proactively to help ensure every resident in Toronto can easily access vaccine information and book an appointment so that the City’s tremendous success administering vaccine to residents continues.
The campaign will use texts, emails, voice broadcasts, telephone town halls and targeted multilingual social media advertising to provide information to Torontonians about when and how they can be vaccinated. Campaign efforts will also work with partners to support all who would like to be vaccinated but require help to overcome barriers to vaccination and connect them to the supports that they need.
Starting today, Toronto residents can text “VACCINE” to 1-833-750-0888 to be connected with resources including appointment bookings, information on vaccines and upcoming telephone town halls. Additional features of the text line will be announced in the weeks ahead.
The VaxTO campaign will enable City Councillors, community agencies and other partners to mobilize their own networks with direct contact tools alongside timely and accurate information about the City’s vaccination rollout. It will also help facilitate peer-to-peer sharing allowing those who have been vaccinated can encourage their own networks to get vaccinated.
As the City welcomes the Province’s expanded COVID-19 vaccine booking eligibility, it is vital that a wide variety of channels and strategies are used so the city reaches as high a vaccination rate as possible in a timely manner. These tactics will be deployed both on a city-wide level, as well as on ward and micro-targeted levels, starting with priority postal codes to respond to infection and vaccination trends. Community outreach will directly support the work of the Vaccine Engagement Teams (www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-city-immunization-program/?accordion=vaccine-engagement-teams) on the ground and will be available in multiple languages.
The VaxTO campaign will include three phases. Phase 1, now underway, will encourage all Torontonians to book their first dose. Phase 2, beginning in mid-June, will target neighbourhoods and communities with low first dose vaccine rates. Phase 3, beginning in July, will continue to target Torontonians yet to receive a first dose and support the second dose city-wide efforts.
Last weekend, the City had a soft launch of the VaxTO campaign with the deployment of a telephone voice broadcast to 150,000 households from Mayor John Tory in 18 hot-spot neighbourhoods encouraging residents to book their vaccine during the Long Weekend Dose Drive. Hundreds of residents who received the live call were connected with the provincial booking system. The first major event of the campaign will be a city-wide telephone town hall on Wednesday, June 2 at 6 p.m. The event will provide Torontonians with an opportunity to ask questions related to the COVID-19 vaccination program directly to Mayor Tory, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, and Chief Matthew Pegg, General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management.
"We are doing everything we can as a City government to get as many residents vaccinated as possible. VaxTO will connect Torontonians with vaccination information and make sure that we leave no stone unturned. We are using every tool we can to help connect with people and provide the information they need in order to book their vaccination appointment. We want to get residents vaccinated as quickly as possible so we can get on with safely and cautiously reopening our city. By moving forward with this broad-based and micro-targeted approach now, working with our City Councillors and community partners, VaxTO is one more way we are addressing barriers so that all Torontonians who want to get vaccinated can do so in a timely manner."
- Mayor John Tory
"Our VaxTO campaign has been designed to break down every barrier, and build every possible bridge, to vaccine access. This means reaching Torontonians where they are – through texting and voice broadcasts, social media campaigns in different languages, and telephone town halls – to understand and tackle any challenges people face when it comes to getting their shot. This campaign ties into the work of our Vaccine Engagement Teams and our Sprint Strategy. It's about getting the word out, building trust, and mobilizing support for vaccination with Torontonians across our city."
- Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Board of Health