You never know what life will throw at you.
MyVaccineCounts raises awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and updated boosters.
Welcome to the MyVaccineCounts initiative! Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) partnered with Delaware and Pennsylvania’s Public Health Associations to deploy vaccinations, undertake grassroots vaccine education and confidence work, and connect underserved communities to care.
PHMC and its partners worked with 169 Community Health Workers representing 22 organizations across Pennsylvania and Delaware, leading to 3,966 vaccine doses administered and 2,071,321 people reached virtually and through 1,421 in-person events.
Though the ongoing funding of MyVaccineCounts has ended, we’re pleased to share our findings, and resources from the initiative’s Campaign Toolkit.
Addressed persistent health disparities and vaccine hesitancies
Engaged audiences along the hesitancy continuum
My Vaccine Counts Campaign Toolkit
Campaign content, educational materials and resources on the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters that you can share at events, over email or social media.
Share these videos on your personal social media channels or your organization’s channels to help increase COVID-19 vaccine awareness.
Get Vax-ed and Boosted
Youth Get Vax'ed and Boosted
Families Get Vax'ed and Boosted
Rural Communities Get Vax'ed and Boosted
A set of booklets to educate communities on the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters - a general 101 for everyone, what parents of young children need to know, and what teenagers need to know.
Share these posts on your personal social media channels or your organization’s channels to help increase COVID-19 vaccine awareness.
Community Health Worker Toolkit
A comprehensive and easy-to-read COVID-19 toolkit in English and Spanish that covers a variety of topics on vaccine hesitancy, links for additional resources, and free trainings available to you.
The COVID-19 Community Health Worker (CHW) Initiative aims to address persistent health disparities and vaccine hesitancy in Pennsylvania and Delaware by offering support and resources to vulnerable and under-resourced communities, and to newly identified individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster doses.
Below are stories from community residents, our CHWs and local organizations on their journey to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.
As part of the HRSA grant from Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), we partnered with Paster Alex Alvarado of Casa De Reconciliación in York, Pennsylvania to help educate residents on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.
We held COVID-19 vaccination clinics in our community. At these events, about 300-400 people stopped by to learn more. Our team found that people weren’t getting vaccinated due to lack of information, language barriers, religious beliefs, or fear due to lack of official documentation.
To help reduce these barriers, we used the My Vaccine Counts handouts in Spanish and talked to individuals before or after church services. In the Hispanic community, vaccine awareness is spread by word of mouth. We saw that when one family member got vaccinated, another family member would come within the following weeks. This is how the vaccination numbers kept growing.
Pastor Alvarado also offered additional resources, including a food bank, weekly vaccine administration and support groups in partnership with Latino Connection. He is trusted by community members because of his Christian beliefs. On his leadership role, Pastor Alvarado commented, “I’m very satisfied that I’m able to help people, and I feel really great about that.”
Read more about Latino Connection on their website.
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Kensington Voice is a unique community newsroom that offers both direct services to North Philadelphia residents and publishes news stories created from on-the-ground information collection. The team identified low vaccination rates among residents and applied for the HRSA grant from Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC). This grant allowed the Kensington Voice team to get even more involved in engagement with the local community. A key finding was that while the newspaper had COVID-19 information in English and Spanish, many people were experiencing information fatigue – and they didn’t want to see, read or talk about COVID-19 anymore.
The team need something to break through, and that’s where an idea of an art contest started. The newspaper held a contest for all ages and offered prizes to make it more competitive. It was open for artwork, poetry and spoken word submissions. This allowed our team to engaged with people on multiple levels and bring up COVID-19 as part of a new conversation. During the submission process, individuals were also asked to take a survey. This helped us to measure the COVID-19 vaccine perceptions and vaccination status, and identify barriers to vaccination for future content planning.
The survey data indicated a positive movement in vaccine confidence. Prior to the project, 28.1% of people indicated vaccine confidence, while 45.5% indicated vaccine confidence toward the end of the project. Another great measure of success was that 20% said the art contest impacted their decision to get vaccinated.
The art project also encouraged people to think about COVID-19 vaccination, even if it was just voting on the entries. It was a great way to break through to those individuals we found were not interested in hearing about COVID-19. The contest also helped to showcase creative expression about something that has been a traumatic experience for people, especially children whose routines have been disrupted. Thanks to the HRSA grant and collaborating with PHMC, we’re able to create new interventions and reach our community members on this important public health topic.
Read more about Kensington Voice on their website.
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Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) has a mission to preserve, protect and promote Chinatown as a viable ethnic, residential and business community serving over 3,000 clients per year. To meet the needs of a low-income immigrant community, PCDC offers a comprehensive array of programs.
We found that parents in our community are especially hesitant about vaccinating their children. Although in-language outreach materials that provide accurate information about COVID-19 updates and vaccines can help ease their concerns, many parents still feel helpless or anxious about the vaccines.
The PCDC team believed that one of the best ways to reach vaccine-hesitant people was through the arts. In partnership with local artist Chenlin Cao, we developed a coloring contest to reach out to parents of young children. The contest was designed for three different age groups and promoted through outreach workers in Chinese and English at local schools, shops and restaurants, and online through our social media channels. The literature and design included COVID-19 vaccination messaging.
The coloring contest resulted in 124 beautiful art submissions! 30 finalists were selected for the community to vote on. Nine winners were selected with 264 votes cast by local community members. We also did a survey of the voters in which 43.6% indicated that the program “encouraged me or my child(ren) to get vaccinated.” This program is a successful example of how we used unconventional approaches to share COVID-19 vaccination information with parents and children to increase vaccination in our community.
Read more about PCDC on their website.
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NOMO Foundation is an early intervention and prevention program whose mission is to provide a safe space for youth to develop life skills that will increase their potential to become self-sufficient.
The staff at NOMO Foundation identified barriers to COVID-19 vaccination in their Philadelphia community. These included a lack of trust in government information, data suggesting that fewer individuals are dying from COVID-19 infections, and a fear that vaccination will have long-term negative effects.
To address these barriers, the staff included COVID-19 outreach into their existing outreach programs. Through NOMO Foundation’s efforts as part of the My Vaccine Counts project, more than 900 people received their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. More than 880 people received the COVID-19 booster dose. The staff heard feedback that talking to community health workers, reading factual information on the website, and receiving flyers about COVID-19 vaccination at school, college or religious sites influenced their decision to get the vaccine. To date, an estimated 50,000 individuals have been engaged in outreach through 656 different activities.
NOMO Foundation also promoted COVID-19 testing. One example is the annual Prep-Rally, which is a back-to-school book bag giveaway and non-violence event. Attendees received book bags, resources, hygiene products and free COVID-19 testing. During the event, COVID-19 tests were provided to 150 people. Regular community outreach at locations the community is familiar with makes a huge difference in getting tested and talking about COVID-19 vaccine questions.
Read more about NOMO Foundation on their website.
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AIDS Delaware is the state’s first and largest AIDS Service Organization and focuses on addressing the needs of the HIV/AIDS community through culturally sensitive services, education programs, and advocacy. Community Engagement Specialist Lavay Glynn, joined by Manager of Counseling and Testing Darby Breasure and Community Health Clinician Maya Thomas, shared details of AIDS Delaware’s work on COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and beyond.
The “My Vaccine Counts” program has provided AIDS Delaware the opportunity to re-engage with the community on topics related to COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS. Our teams bridge the knowledge gap and address COVID-19 misinformation by guiding our clients and the Wilmington population to get vaccinated, or at the very least become more informed about the vaccines and where to get them.
The most successful approach we’ve had to address COVID-19 hesitancy is speaking with community members directly and assessing what’s on their minds. Our CHWs have been prompted with many questions related to COVID-19, so it’s important that we have the correct answers for them, learn as much as we can throughout the process, and/or point them to the correct resources for their needs if we don’t know the answers.
During June 2022, AIDS Delaware was heavily involved with Pride, Juneteenth, and National HIV Testing Day. At Delaware Pride in Dover on June 4, we had a table set up to distribute resources on AIDS Delaware, COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, and our new youth leadership program called “The Village.” We also handed out 150 PPE bags with testing kits, masks, and hand sanitizers, and were able to conduct testing and outreach with our HIV mobile testing van. We’ll continue to promote HIV testing and COVID-19 vaccinations at all future events.
Read more about AIDS Delaware on their website.
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A Home is A Right, Inc. (AHARI) has served Philadelphia's veteran community for over a decade. Its mission is to provide permanent supportive housing for homeless and at-risk veterans and their families while helping them become self-sufficient. Founder and Executive Director Stephanie Booker shared information about AHARI and its work to reduce mistrust of federal information and medical intervention related to COVID-19 for the local veteran community.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for additional resources, AHARI has made a significant pivot to provide hunger relief services, host COVID-19 initiatives, and hold our table talk trauma-informed discussions with youth.
During the beginning of the pandemic, we saw major mistrust of federal information and medical intervention related to COVID-19. Our teams worked to connect with people who believe in more traditional methods of medicine and are hesitant to put anything in their bodies beyond that.
At events and meetings, we focused not on “convincing” people to get vaccinated, but on providing the necessary information for them to be educated on the topic. When they see us, they see a face that looks like them, they hear a conversation they can understand, and they trust AHARI. We also found that the experience of either getting COVID-19 or having a family member get infected can cause someone to change their mind to get a vaccine and protect themselves.
With the PHMC grant opportunity, we hosted a new service in partnership with the Temple University Owls Collection Network. The network helped to bring training and education to AHARI to prepare us for our COVID-19 efforts, which we were not equipped to do ourselves. At events, we now give out a lot of resources to the community, including giveaways like hand sanitizer, hand wipes, PPE gear, COVID-19 tests, and thermometers. Our teams also provide information on COVID-19 safety, vaccine options, and vaccination sites. At this point in the pandemic, we are just trying to help people realize that COVID-19 isn't going away and that the best option to protect themselves long-term is getting vaccinated and boosted.
Read more about AHARI on their website.
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Latino Connection was founded in 2014 and offers health and wellness programming in low-income communities. Our programs are focused on reaching women and families who are low-income, uninsured, and at risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues that often result from lack of resources, education, and technology.
CATE (Community-Accessible Testing & Education) is an initiative that literally puts wheels in motion to deliver free, essential COVID-19 resources and education into the communities that were severely impacted by major social, economic, and health disparities.
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, state funding allowed us to launch this project. The PHMC HRSA grant has allowed us to continue our grassroots and hyperlocal partnerships-based work. This has ultimately given us the ability to continue reaching the most vulnerable and most vaccine-hesitant. Almost three years into the pandemic, we continue to reach folks who are receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A notable success of the CATE program is that it spans the borders of private-public partnerships and brought a complex idea to fruition in a matter of only a few months.
Read more about Latino Connection on their website.
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Quality Insights is focused on better health care for everyone by being a change agent, trusted partner and an integrator of information, ideas and practices among local organizations collaborating to improve care. Our organization had a table at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation/Penn State Health Type 1 Family Fun Day event in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania to provide COVID-19 vaccine education. Attendees at this event included a diverse local population from our community, including parents, children, senior citizens, Spanish speakers, English speakers, African Americans, and Asian Americans.
While many of the 300 individuals I spoke with were already aware of and fully vaccinated against COVID-19, we focused on booster dose education and newly released guidance from the CDC. Many of the conversations were about where to find vaccines and boosters.
Overall, people were engaged in the conversation, understood the importance of protecting themselves and their communities against COVID-19, and were happy to see our presence in the community. I was extremely grateful to able to connect with the community members and hope to do more events to help people stay healthy.
Throughout the My Vaccine Counts project, I’ve learned that people are most receptive when we talk not only about their individual health, but also about their family. Through this project, I’ve been able to help them overcome barriers, provide education, and help them access the vaccines to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community.
Alexis is a Community Health Worker at A Home is A Right, Inc. (AHARI). She feels strongly that serving as a Community Health Worker allows her to be a part of the solution to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Alexis shares her experience working with Philadelphians ages 12-25 to increase vaccination rates with a focus on outreach to homeless kids under the age of 18 years living in group homes.
AHARI is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support homeless veterans and their families, as well as veterans at risk of becoming homeless in Philadelphia. Through our monthly event series, we saw that myths and stereotypes about the COVID-19 vaccines were causing vaccine hesitancy for people ages 12-25 years in our community. A specific subset of these conversation was among homeless children under the age of 18 years who have no guardians and live in group homes. Our outreach efforts focused on this population of children placed in Philadelphia shelters who were often coming from across the state of Pennsylvania.
We gave a COVID-19 training in a group setting that involved providing historical information about infectious disease control; explaining universal precautions; background on COVID-19 (what it is, how it spreads, prevention measures, etc.); how residential staff is keeping residents, visitors and staff safe; answering questions; and providing hand sanitizers, wipes, and information on where they can get vaccinated.
We slowly uncovered through group discussions that the children were opposed to the vaccines, believed in myths about them, and wanted to debate the science. Our experts offered factual information and invited other children who were already vaccinated to talk about their decision and experiences. Our team learned that the biggest gap is finding a location to get vaccinated, as many homeless children don’t have a primary care doctor. We were able to help support children in finding vaccine locations.
Overall, the environment of trust that we created and the children’s feeling that they were being heard made a difference in changing their minds to get vaccinated on the spot.
Shawanna, 38, was hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine because she was afraid of needles. A Community Health Worker at the center talked with Shawanna about the vaccine’s benefits and helped her to overcome her fear. Shawanna decided to get the vaccine at her local Weis Pharmacy. The provider spoke with her, directed her to not watch herself getting the shot, and helped her feel comfortable before, during and after vaccination.
Donnell, 64, was proactive in taking responsibility for her and her family’s health during the pandemic. She received her initial two vaccines at a local pharmacy and the first booster last December. Upon learning that the center was hosting a clinic to offer the second booster dose, she signed up as soon as she was eligible.
“I was happy to return to the center for my second COVID-19 booster dose. I had gotten my flu shot at clinics held there during the past two flu seasons. Other members of my family have also gotten initial COVID-19 vaccines there in early 2021 and the second booster this summer. The location is welcoming and convenient. Thanks to Bradbury-Sullivan for offering these options to the community,” said Donnell.