Team Toronto launches parent survey, town halls, and education opportunities to help families get ready for COVID-19 vaccination of children

Team Toronto is preparing to vaccinate children aged five to 11, once the vaccine is approved for this age group and the Ministry of Health provides the vaccine. To assist in planning, Team Toronto is proactively conducting outreach and education sessions, including hosting town halls, to build vaccine confidence and assist in planning for vaccine distribution.

Today, all parents of children aged five to 11 attending public schools, will receive an email and invitation to participate in a survey to support vaccination planning. Independent schools will also receive an invitation for parents with children in this age group to participate.  Toronto Public Health (TPH) and the City of Toronto’s VaxTO campaign have launched a survey to better understand parents’ intent to vaccinate their children, how they would prefer to have their children receive their COVID-19 vaccine, and to obtain critical information on socio-demographic factors such as race and income. This will help ensure a focused and effective vaccination campaign.

The survey, which will be open until Sunday, November 7, includes 15 questions that will be sent directly to parents and guardians through Toronto school boards. A copy of the survey is available online Opens in new window. The survey is available in multiple languages.

In preparation for the vaccination campaign, TPH has begun hosting a series of more than 15 outreach and educational town halls and webinars for parents, newcomers, partners in the Child & Family Services sector, community agencies and ambassadors. Team Toronto’s vaccination campaign is a partnership between the City, hospitals, community agencies, and more than 300 City neighbourhood vaccine ambassadors. The town halls and webinars aimed to provide information and tools to assist parents in their decision-making as well as Team Toronto partners with proactive vaccine outreach.

Additional parent and caregiver town halls as well as targeted multilingual and neighbourhood-based telephone town halls will be announced in the coming weeks.

The COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death. Recent local data shows that compared to those who are fully vaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are four times more likely to get COVID-19, five times more likely to be hospitalized, and 42 times more likely to be admitted to ICU.

Vaccination reduces community spread of COVID-19 and receiving two doses of the vaccine will reduce the chance that a child will unknowingly pass the virus to their classmates or loved ones, such as grandparents or friends who can get seriously ill. While awaiting a vaccine for younger children, adults, caregivers and youth 12 years of age and older are urged to get vaccinated if they have not already done so, to continue to protect all children.

Quotes

“While our work to get 90 per cent of eligible residents vaccinated is continuing, we are also readying for when the vaccine will be available to protect kids 5 to 11. I’m proud to announce that Team Toronto will be sending out surveys to all parents of 5 to 11 year-olds in public schools today – an invitation will also be going to independent school parents. We want to hear from parents so we make sure we design a vaccination program that works for kids and their families. This is just one more example of the outreach we are doing to prepare for this effort. This work is so important and will help us get kids vaccinated so they have the best protection against COVID-19 and so our schools can be as safe and as open as possible.”
– Mayor John Tory

“At every stage of our immunization campaign, connecting with people on the ground has been critical to our success. Now, as we prepare for the rollout of vaccines to children age five to 11, we’re committed to engaging directly with parents, families, and community leaders to have active conversations about vaccinations for kids. Through this week’s survey, we want to hear what’s on parents’ minds as we prepare for this next step, so that we can build vaccine confidence, answer questions, and support the development of our multi-pronged access strategy. Along with outreach webinars and town halls, and the dedicated work of more than 300 neighbourhood vaccine ambassadors, we’re making sure that every family in our city has a chance to get all the information they need about this next phase in our work to protect our city from COVID-19.”

– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of Toronto’s Board of Health

“Toronto Public Health, our health care and community partners are working quickly and collaboratively on COVID-19 vaccination plans for 5 to 11 year olds in Toronto. When vaccines are approved for use – and when we have supply – we will ensure that we bring every resource to bear on this critical component of the vaccination campaign.
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health

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