COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program group

The COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program (VAP) supports the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination rollout in Victoria by building trust and confidence in the program and addressing misinformation in the community.

 

Objectives

Objectives include raising awareness of the rollout, engaging with vulnerable communities on the COVID-19 immunisation program, reducing vaccination hesitation by providing reliable information through trustworthy sources, and reducing barriers to uptake by receiving feedback from community feedback to inform planning and decision-making.

The program aims to assist promotion, education, and capacity building efforts, and to create targeted and bespoke information, using the key messages and information created by the Australian and Victorian Governments, as well as provide operational and material support about COVID-19 vaccination.

 

Priority audiences and participating services

Priority engagement audiences include:

  • vulnerable, disadvantaged, at-risk and marginal communities already engaged with services
  • people who otherwise don’t engage with health services or primary care providers
  • people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and multicultural and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • place-based engagement with priority workers (e.g. large local workplace).

The program does not fund any COVID-19 vaccine delivery; rather, it aims to provide financial support and resources to a range of organisations across Victoria, so they can rapidly engage with their clients and communities about the benefits of the vaccination program during its rollout.

Participating services include:

  • Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations
  • Community health organisations
  • Local government
  • GenVic (peak body for women’s health)
  • Carers Vic
  • Victorian Council of Social Services
  • Women’s Health Services
  • Youth Advisory Council.

 

Meetings

The VAP meets monthly and aims to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout by building trust and confidence, and addressing misinformation in the Victorian community through the sharing of ideas and resources. Meetings have featured case study presentations and sharing of updates from the department to help members progress their communities towards vaccination targets.

For example, our October 2021 meeting included presentations from Njernda Aboriginal Corporation and Women’s Health in the North (WHIN), which highlighted some innovative approaches to reaching community members. Following are some useful vaccine resources, including a recent study conducted by the Burnet and Doherty Institutes:

 

At the final VAP meeting for 2021, held on 13 December, Associate Professor Margie Danchin, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and The Royal Children’s Hospital, presented research on risk versus benefits of vaccinating the 5- to 11-year-old age group; vaccine safety information, regimes and protocols; and strategies to assist with vaccine hesitancy. The recording is available for VHA Members.

 

Funding

Funding for the Vaccine Ambassador Program (VAP) has been extended until 30 June 2022. The VHA will continue to support our vaccine ambassadors to progress third dose vaccination rates, vaccinate the 5- to 11-year-old cohort, and promote ongoing COVIDsafe behaviours in the community.

 

For more information on the COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program (VAP), contact us: 03 9094 7777 or email vha@vha.org.au

 

The VHA also encourages services involved in the VAP to consider supplementing this work by booking the Department’s COVID-19 Vaccine – Vaccination Champions program to speak with your communities.

If you are coordinating an event to increase vaccine confidence and would like to engage one or more champions to assist, complete the champions request form and email it to: vaccine.champions@health.vic.gov.au.