PHILADELPHIA — The Philly Counts Office has been connecting communities with vital information about the COVID-19 vaccine since pivoting their outreach initiative towards getting Philadelphians vaccinated. Since October 2021, Philly Counts has knocked on over 200,000 doors across the city, and have engaged in over 27,000 conversations with residents about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Philly Counts has also made over 350,000 phone calls and had over 50,000 phone conversations. This has resulted in assisting 8,234 residents order COVID-19 at home test kits and over 17,000 residents getting information about food access, utility assistance and housing insecurities.
“Philly Counts has been an essential part of the work of getting Philadelphia vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “Due to decades of historical and systemic racism in Philadelphia, we know that not everyone just trusts the word of the Health Department and doctors. But being able to have the opportunity to ask questions of someone who looks and sounds like you can go a long way toward encouraging people to get vaccinated. We are so grateful to Philly Counts for making those conversations happen.”
In order to provide more in-depth support, Philly Counts launched a Community Health Worker program this year. Through this program, Community Health Workers follow up with residents who have expressed needs that cannot be immediately addressed by canvassers. This additional outreach is important to ensure our most at risk residents are getting the support and resources they need.
“In the last year, we have engaged in more than 75,000 conversations with Philadelphia families, sharing resources to address their most urgent needs. While outreach is an important first step, there is a deep need for follow up and in some cases, continued support,” said Stephanie Reid, Executive Director of Philly Counts. “Now, thanks to another thoughtful collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, we have a group of Community Health Workers who are following up with the people who tell us they need support. This proactive follow up is another important step towards addressing health equity and building trust between Philadelphia families and city government.”
In October of 2021, Philly Counts launched a paid canvassing program to do direct outreach in 32 of Philadelphia’s lowest vaccinated neighborhoods. The canvassers make three passes through each neighborhood.
Philly Counts has established a network of 435 volunteers through its unique engagement model centered on grassroots organizing and coalition building. Philly Counts equips these trusted messengers, residents that are already pillars in their community, with important information to talk to their family, friends, network, and community about the COVID-19 vaccination.
In the fall, Philly Counts plans to launch a Community Champion Program that will equip trusted messengers in the community with important information to share with family, friends, and neighbors as well as continue their civic engagement work.
Check out the Philly Counts website for an up-to-date events calendar as well as resources to use in the community. Members of the public can sign up 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.