Proactive Vaccine Outreach Strategies: District of Columbia: Door Knocking

Vaccine Outreach Innovation: Door to Door Senior Vaccine Buddies Program

Key Partners:  Mayor’s office, community-based organizations (CBOs), DC Office of Aging and Community Living (DACL), DC Department of Health  

How it started: The DC Mayor’s office culled available data (i.e. a health equity report) to identify communities where there had traditionally been low access and low information about healthcare. They targeted those communities - wards 7 and 8 in the District. DCAL provided lists of individuals who had received ipads during the pandemic as well as those on the home delivered meals roster. They also obtained voter registration lists. They launched a proactive a door knocking campaign called Senior Vaccine Buddies. About 80 staff from the Major’s Office of Community Affairs went out for 4 hour blocks in pairs to knock on doors.

When they knock they talk with individuals, family members and caregivers about the vaccine and are able to schedule an appointments in real time based on a list of available appointments provided by the DC Department of Health. They assist with arrangement of transportation and call to remind people about their appointments and offer support. Seniors assisted also refer friends and family for assistance. They have also targeted buildings with large concentrations of cultural and ethic groups as identified by special mayoral task forces.

The initial roll-out was so successful the Mayor’s Office has now awarded a grant to 7 CBOs to knock on doors daily. Training the outreach staff has been key to success by discussing how to talk about vaccine confidence and preparing people to feel comfortable in the communities where they are knocking. This was done by discussing issues of race, safety, and cultural differences.

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Contact Us

To contact the ACL/Technical Assistance team, please email: NoWrongDoor@acl.hhs.gov