Thousands of ambassadors help VDH get COVID-19 information to community members

Posted at 4:34 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 17:11:30-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— Whether you’re wearing a mask or keeping your distancing from others, a lot of small actions have a big impact in the fight against coronavirus.

That’s why the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is looking for people to take small steps to share important COVID-19 information in their community.

They created the COVID Community Ambassador Program in January with the goal of having citizens share accurate information with the people they’re already talking to.

“Whether it be their neighbors, their family, their book club, their religious facility; whatever their network is — whether it’s two people or 2,000, it’s the idea that they could share with each other,” explained Virginia Department of Health Public Information Officer Brookie Crawford.

Ambassadors sign up online to receive COVID-19 updates and materials from VDH to share through social media, by word of mouth or in person — it’s a form of micro-influencing.

“They are influencing people we may not be able to get to because they don’t follow the traditional media — whether it be TV or newspaper — but they might go to book club or they might go to church and hear from their neighbors and friends and coworkers and things like that."

The first mission for ambassadors was to help people get pre-registered for the vaccine. They were given fliers in English and Spanish explaining how people can get their shot.

“It’s very easy for misinformation to take wings and fly and grow, so it’s been... the biggest challenge has been trying to combat that,” said Crawford.

As information grows and needs change, VDH sends ambassadors more tools to keep their network in the loop.

Related: Virginia turns to clergy, community to increase vaccinations within communities of color

More than 3,300 people have registered to be ambassadors in 250 cities across the Commonwealth, but VDH is encouraging more people to sign up to save lives.

Click here to sign up to join the COVID Community Ambassador Program.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.