Since December 2020, municipalities around the world have been organising the vaccination of their citizens against Covid-19. Not only do they need to ensure that vaccinations run smoothly, but they also need to use innovative communication strategies to gain people's trust and reach vulnerable groups such as older people and refugees.
On 22 and 25 March 2021, Connective Cities hosted a virtual response dialogue on Covid-19 vaccination and communication strategies, attended by eight municipalities and two municipal associations from Germany, Israel, Colombia, Serbia and Togo. The municipal representatives shared their experiences, gave each other tips and worked out solutions together for the best possible vaccination management.
They found that transparent, fast and trustworthy communication is a central component of a successful vaccination strategy. On the one hand, this applies to the internal communication between all actors involved in the vaccination campaign. Some participants wanted to use the idea of bringing together all relevant actors at a municipal round table directly in their own city. External communication with the population also plays an important role, especially with vulnerable groups. The participants agreed that their communication must promote patience among the population for the respective vaccination prioritisation and appeal to people's solidarity. In addition, civil society needs to be involved in immunisation strategies because they often have a closer connection to the population, and the commitment of volunteers needs to be valued. Finally, different communication channels and tools need to be used depending on the target group. In Stari Grad, Serbia, for example, older people are contacted by phone through a newly established municipal call centre, while the municipality of Kiryat Shmona in Israel organised “vaccination nights” with refreshments for young people.