Vaccine Champions Sought By Health Departments, United Way

The health departments in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties are teaming up with the United Way of Southwest Michigan to increase the COVID-19 vaccination rate and fight misinformation. Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News they’re looking to sign up Vaccine Champions.

“Vaccine champions can be individuals or non-profit organizations who will educate communities — whether it’s their neighbors, their friends, their family members — on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Conrad said.

Conrad says those Vaccine Champions will be trained by the health department on how to talk to people within their spheres of influence and the community on the importance of doing their part to fight COVID.

“So people that they work with, go to school with, go to church with, or know through their neighborhood. It’s those trusted, credible messengers who you know who are going to be able to make the biggest impact on moving the needle and helping someone come to a Yes decision.”

There will be a monthly stipend of $300 for Vaccine Champions. The three partners have received private funding through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Michigan Association of United Ways, and The Kresge Foundation for the Vaccination Champion program. You can find out more at