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NYC Test & Trace Corps Canvassers Engage New Yorkers in Over 10 Million Conversations, Providing Resources and Information to Communities in Need

Canvassers knocked nearly 2 million doors and handed out over 40 million masks while encouraging vaccination and testing in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic

Apr 07, 2022

New York, NY

The NYC Test & Trace Corps announced today that its canvass teams have engaged New Yorkers in over 10 million conversations, providing critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and information regarding vaccination and testing while prioritizing outreach in communities disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. Since the canvass program began, canvassers have knocked 1.7 million doors, handed out over 40 million masks and 12 million pamphlets with information about testing and vaccination, secured 1.7 million commitments to testing, and scheduled over 500,000 appointments for vaccination.

“Ninety-seven percent of New York City’s adults have received at least one vaccine dose thanks in large part to the work of these canvassers, who went to every end of the city to make sure New Yorkers knew about these life-saving medicines,” said Mayor Adams. “From the conversations they conducted, to the vaccination appointments they scheduled, their critical work touched every community. New York is better informed, better protected, and getting back to what makes our city great thanks to them and the heroic healthcare workers who’ve been there to vaccinate, test, and treat us throughout this pandemic.”

“Thanks to the efforts of our Test & Trace canvassers, millions of New Yorkers have been connected to vaccination, testing, and the critical resources and information they need to make informed health decisions and stay safe,” said Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health at New York City Health + Hospitals and NYC Test & Trace Corps Executive Director Dr. Ted Long. “Conversation by conversation, mile after mile, they have spoken with residents in vulnerable communities and helped schedule hundreds of thousands of vaccinations. I thank our canvassers for their tenacity and empathy, and the meaningful impact they have had on so many New Yorkers.”

“Throughout the pandemic, Test & Trace canvassers have hit the streets to meet New Yorkers where they live, work, shop, learn, and pray,” said NYC Test & Trace Corps Campaign Director Jonathan Viguers. “The diversity of our canvassers reflects the diversity of their communities. Canvassers provide trusted voices to communicate the importance of vaccination, testing, and preventing the spread of COVID-19, and have delivered those messages and those resources to the New Yorkers who needed them most.”

Test & Trace canvassers began outreach in June of 2020 in neighborhoods the City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE) determined were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. For nearly two years they have been on the frontlines of the pandemic serving as the eyes, ears, and voice of Test & Trace.

The over 10.6 million conversations canvassers had with New Yorkers, 77% of which were held in TRIE neighborhoods, gave Test & Trace critical information about which communities needed additional vaccine resources, testing resources, and PPE. These conversations also helped the program determine how to best educate New Yorkers about the availability, efficacy, and safety of vaccines, encourage and make testing widely accessible, and promote best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

After speaking with a canvasser, over 1.8 million New Yorkers committed to getting vaccinated, 81% of whom were in TRIE neighborhoods, and 1.7 million New Yorkers committed to getting tested.

Canvassers went door to door in New York’s neighborhoods with the lowest vaccination rates to encourage vaccination among those who had difficulty accessing vaccine sites, were reluctant to be vaccinated, or were exposed to vaccine misinformation. To date, canvassers have knocked over 1.7 million doors, 76% of which were in TRIE neighborhoods. Their efforts have scheduled 568,000 vaccine appointments, 72% of which were made in TRIE neighborhoods.

In addition, canvassers handed out over 40.4 million surgical or KN95 masks, over 77% of which were distributed in TRIE neighborhoods, and handed out over 12 million pamphlets containing detailed information about vaccines, testing, and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“Test & Trace’s canvassers are truly a reflection of New York City—they come from all walks of life, all ages, all boroughs, and came together with one common goal: to lead their communities through the pandemic,” said Betsy Shortt, Director of the Vax4All Program and NYC Test & Trace Corps Community Outreach Team Lead. “They’ve shown us over and over again, as the demands changed and they were asked to respond in unprecedented ways, that there is no limit to what New Yorkers can do.”

Over the nearly two years of the canvass program, more than 180,000 canvassers have gone into the field. All canvassers hail from New York City and more than half are residents of TRIE neighborhoods. They speak over 17 languages, including Spanish, Bengali, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, Haitian Creole, Korean, Arabic, Fujianese, French, Yoruba, Yiddish, Hindi, Punjabi, American Sign Language, Patois, and Tibetan.