They knocked on more than 260,000 doors, sent 547,000 texts and made 1.3 million phone calls — all with the goal of getting Prince George’s County, Maryland, residents to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.
It’s hard to make a one-to-one correlation between those contacts and the number of county residents vaccinated, Anthony McAuliffe, spokesperson for County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, said.
But there are some numbers that suggest the personal outreach efforts had an impact, he said. Of 8,452 residents visited in the last week of May, 70%, or 5,916, residents got their vaccinations between the first and second visits by canvassers.
McAuliffe said there’s no single approach that seems to have persuaded the unvaccinated to get the jab, but he did say that making sure the canvassers — all of whom had been vaccinated — were Prince George’s County residents seemed to help, turning a knock on the door to a neighborly chat.
Many of the canvassers, McAuliffe said, told their own personal story about why they got vaccinated, how the process went and how they felt afterward, including any side effects.
Canvassers didn’t just focus on getting people to get vaccinated; they also provided information on a number of COVID-19 related issues, including where to get rental assistance, access to nearby food banks and where to get free COVID-19 testing.
While the canvassing effort has wrapped up, McAuliffe said other outreach efforts continue.
McAuliffe said there are county government partnerships with the county’s faith community.
“Dr. Carter, our health officer, has actually attended several different church events to lead conversations around vaccine hesitancy.” McAuliffe said. In many cases, where mobile vaccination clinics are brought along, after people get a chance to have their questions answered and their concerns addressed, “they’ll walk out of the room and go sign up and get vaccinated even before the event ends.”
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