The Health Department and Community Health Center in Lake County, Illinois has released a manual for volunteers that appears to be related to the Biden administration’s door-to-door effort aimed at encouraging Americans to get a coronavirus shot.
How we got here: The Biden administration announced a door-to-door vaccine push in hopes of driving up the vaccination rate as it failed to reach its goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population in the U.S. by the Fourth of July.
“Now we need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood and often times door-to-door- literally knocking on doors, to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later explained that this would include volunteers and activists going to people’s homes to give them information about vaccines’ effectiveness, accessibility, and safety.
The story: The Health Department and Community Health Center published a manual for volunteers and activists who will take part in the door-to-door effort. It was published on April 6 and updated on July 12.
In detail: The document features tips on how to approach and communicate with residents, including what to say when asking property managers for access to the building.
It tells volunteers that they have to respect “No Trespassing” signs and leave when asked to. They’re also advised to follow COVID-19 measures, leave a flier if the person they’ve reached out to is vaccinated, and are told not to try and convince people to get a COVID-19 jab but only provide them with information.
“Your job is to equip the person at the door with the information/resources they need to make an informed decision about their health. You are not trying to convince anyone to do something they don’t want to do,” the document, titled “Door Knocking Project to Increase COVID Vaccine Acceptance” reads.
The scripts suggest that volunteers, or community health ambassadors, ensure residents that “[t]he current vaccines are equally effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death.”
“Side effects are different for each person with each vaccine, but it’s important to know that side effects are a sign that your body is working to build up a defense against the virus. And side effects are not nearly as bad as a bad case of COVID. There are only 3 sources I would trust for vaccine information: at the Federal level, that would be CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services), State Public Health/IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) and your local Health Department, Lake County Health Department,” the script reads.
Volunteers are also supposed to tell residents that “wearing a mask, watching your distance – staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands frequently will be part of our lives for a while. Only 15% of Lake County residents are vaccinated. So, we need to practice COVID precautions until we eliminate this terrible virus.”
Volunteers need to report on their work as well. The department prepared a spreadsheet that volunteers are required to fill out. The sheet would include information about the name of the property they’ve visited and its address, the building number, floor, whether the residents they’ve spoken to have been vaccinated, what concerns they’ve expressed regarding vaccination, and “contact info for follow up.”
“Be sure to fill out the Doorknocking Spreadsheet with the counts of who still needs a vaccine, who is already vaccinated, who needs more info, etc. This is important information that the Health Department is relying on!” the document says.
You can read the full document here.