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VAROS: Empowering Communities Through Inclusive Immunization Education

January 3, 2024

Written by Abira Vaithilingam, Marketing and Fund Development Coordinator

The VAROS team in action at a holiday-themed clinic to protect residents against the flu and COVID-19 during large family gatherings. Ambassadors answered questions, supported clinic flow, and brought merriment to the occasion.

Scarborough, December 2023 – In a ground-breaking initiative to enhance community well-being, the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) proudly launches the Vaccine Ambassadors Reaching Out in Scarborough (VAROS) project. VAROS is designed to elevate awareness, knowledge, and accessibility to immunization among Scarborough residents, with a particular focus on newcomers, minorities, and low-income individuals. This project is funded by The Government of Canada’s – Immunization Partnership Fund.

The project’s expanded scope encompasses comprehensive education on COVID-19, influenza, and life course vaccines. VAROS will employ culturally appropriate, evidence-informed communication strategies developed in collaboration with local partners and the community. The project aims to build trust through transparent communication and draw on reliable sources at local, provincial, and federal levels to stay abreast of vaccine-related updates.

Key Components of VAROS:

1. Webinars: Engaging and informative webinars will provide a platform for community members to learn about the importance of vaccines, dispel myths, and address concerns.

2. Listening Circles: VAROS will facilitate open and respectful dialogue through listening circles, fostering an environment where community members can share their thoughts, experiences, and concerns related to immunization.

3. Social Media Posts: Utilizing various social media platforms, VAROS will disseminate accurate information, success stories, and engaging content to reach a wider audience and promote informed decision-making.

4. One-on-One Conversations: Trained ambassadors and healthcare providers will engage in personalized discussions, addressing individual concerns and providing tailored information to enhance vaccine literacy.

5. In-Person Education Sessions: VAROS will organize in-person education sessions, adhering to public health guidelines, to directly connect with community members and address specific needs and questions.

By actively involving community partners, VAROS aims to strengthen both the community and SCHC front-line staff’s capacity for vaccine-related public education. Together, these efforts strive to elevate vaccination rates for seasonal and life-course immunizations, contributing to a healthier and more resilient Scarborough.

Target Audience:

– Newcomers

– Minorities

– Low-income residents

Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities is committed to creating an inclusive and informed community, and VAROS stands as a testament to this commitment. For inquiries or further information, please contact or visit our Cold, Flu & Covid page here

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