PHILADELPHIA — The Philly Counts office has been helping direct community engagement efforts for the COVID-19 vaccine since the office pivoted their initiative towards getting Philadelphians vaccinated. In 2021, Philly Counts team has knocked over 68,000 doors, made 198,295 phone calls and has had over 7,000 conversations with residents about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Philadelphia is now the most vaccinated city of the top 10 cities in America. 71.4 percent of adult Philadelphians ages 12 and up have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  23 percent of children ages 5-11 have at least one dose.   

“Our engagement with the Community we are C.L.E.A.R: we connect, listen, engage, activate, and are repetitious. We CONNECT with the people and allow them to tell us what matters to them. In asking what matters we actively LISTEN to their concerns, taking notes and repeating them back. After understanding the issues, we ENGAGE  the community on strategies to address those barriers, and then we ACTIVATE the plans created. Finally we are REPETITIOUS with our outreach. We demonstrate consistency which allows us to build trust, thus ensuring effectiveness in getting people vaccinated,” Hassan Freeman, Director of Neighborhood Engagement for Philly Counts.

Over the past year Philly Counts has created powerful partnerships with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia and the National Institute of Health’s Community Engagement Alliance.  

These partnerships have led to micro vaccination sites in underserved communities and creating space for residents to share their true feelings about the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, Philly Counts has supported the Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Recovery and Response fund’s 36 neighborhood ambassadors and 133 local grantee organizations.  Since April, there have been three rounds of funding and a total of $1.2mm given to individuals, businesses and organizations. 

Philly Count’s unique engagement model is centered on grass root organizing and coalition building with trusted organizations in the city of Philadelphia. A key component of the model is the department’s Vaccine Information Champion Training. It is a 90-minute training that equips the public with the knowledge to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with family and friends. This year Philly Counts has trained over 900 Vaccine Information Champions. 

“We want to be remembered for more than our vaccination outreach and response. We want to be remembered as the team that addressed all of the concerns of the community, bringing every resource at our disposal to every neighborhood in the city. Whether it’s vaccines, food, or mental health services, our success has been built by not just saying that we are going to bring these resources, but actually following through and doing it,” Ny’Asia Brackett, Organizer Manager, Philly Counts.

In October, Philly Counts launched a paid canvassing program activating 50 canvassers to speak with residents in 32 of the lowest vaccinated Philadelphia neighborhoods about the vaccine. The canvassers will make three passes through each neighborhood. Since the start of the paid canvassing program, 48,698 doors have been knocked, 2,095 phone calls made for a total of 7,913 conversations. 

“It feels so rewarding talking to people in the community and feeling the unity in hope of seeing ourselves fight together to combat this pandemic.   I have been impressed with those who have expressed a change of heart and decided after being hesitant, to now get vaccinated.  I believe we are going to get through this pandemic continuing on this path,” Teresa Saunders, Neighborhood Organizer, Philly Counts

Checkout the Philly Counts website to an up to date events calendar as well as resources to use in the community. Members of the public can sign up here for Philly Counts’ updates and get more information about volunteer opportunities




About Philly Counts 

Philly Counts is helping direct community engagement efforts for the COVID-19 vaccine.  In partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and other public and private partners, Philly Counts will leverage its existing network of staff and volunteers to provide COVID-19 outreach, education, organizing, and canvassing efforts to ensure that every Philadelphia resident understands why they should consider being vaccinated.