Get Out the Vaccine (GOTV) in 2021

In a new publication in BMC Public Health, the CTSI Community Engagement and Research Program (CERP) is excited to share lessons learned from a community-government-academic partnership between 34 trusted community-based organizations (CBOs), the State of California’s Office of Government Operations, and UCLA to reduce COVID-19 vaccine disparities.

Local canvassers hired by the CBOs conducted local community-based door-to-door and phone outreach, reaching over 165,000 residents to sign up for COVID-19 vaccination and held over 4.6 million conversations about COVID, vaccinations, and other social services and public benefits during the pandemic (June 2020 - Dec 2022). The program was designed to reduce structural barriers to vaccination and other services (e.g., lack of internet/wifi for vaccine registration, transportation, and access to vaccine information) that disproportionately affected low-income and racial/ethnic minority populations statewide.

In the publication, CERP shares essential implications of governments and public health partnering with CBOs to address public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Some highlights of their findings include:

  • The value of trusted CBOs in public health and community outreach: Using CBOs and canvassers in community outreach reduces barriers for local communities in accessing public health resources, including reaching high-risk communities in other health emergencies, disaster response, and addressing social needs. However, we recommend incorporating strategies to address the physical, interpersonal, and technological challenges associated with door-to-door outreach. The GOTV program is a blueprint for rapidly establishing effective community-academic-state partnerships.
  • Need for efficient, flexible funding and support in fund management: Recommending efficient distribution of funds to CBOs in these types of campaigns: required for flexible spending, ramp-up/down activities, and support for capacity building in fund management.
  • CBOs know their communities best and should be given flexibility in addressing local needs: Receiving iterative feedback from the CBOs was essential for tailoring the GOTVax program design to meet the needs of local communities, safety, and cultural tailoring.

The UCLA-led team attributes the success of the campaign to the CBOs' leadership and dedication to impact their communities. All involved were greatly valued and appreciated for their work in the campaign. 

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