Government of Canada launches Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge to support increased vaccine confidence 

News release

March 8, 2021 | Ottawa, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada

Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect against COVID-19 and other serious infectious diseases. The Government of Canada recognizes that community engagement plays a critical role in building vaccine confidence so everyone has the accurate information they need to make an informed decision on vaccination.

To this end, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, announced today the launch of the Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge.

Under the Challenge, individuals and/or groups are invited to propose creative ideas for communications campaigns that will reach groups within their communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty finalists will be chosen by an expert panel and given $25,000 to develop their ideas and launch their campaigns. A grand prize of $100,000 will be awarded to one winner at the end of the Challenge period to reinvest in the protection and promotion of public health in their community.

Community-driven engagement can more effectively influence vaccine confidence among communities who are underserved and have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The Challenge encourages people to help spread the word about COVID-19 vaccines and increase vaccine confidence through creative, community-driven and culturally sensitive means. 

Vaccination saves lives and helps prevent and control the spread of serious infectious diseases. To keep Canadians safe from COVID-19 and other diseases, the Government of Canada works with partners and communities to foster confidence in vaccination by increasing access to reliable, accurate and timely information about vaccines, and by supporting communities to help spread the word in their own voices and through people they trust.

The Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge is one of several efforts by the Government of Canada to work with partners and stakeholders to increase vaccine confidence and address barriers to vaccine acceptance and uptake, including the Immunization Partnership Fund


“We all have a part to play in protecting our loved ones, neighbours and community from COVID-19. Getting a vaccine when it’s our turn is an important action we can all take. The Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge recognizes the crucial role communities play in helping to promote vaccine confidence, particularly among groups who may be unsure about the vaccines due to experiences of discrimination and other biases in health care systems.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“Increasing vaccine confidence is a critical part of getting through the COVID-19 pandemic. There are key reasons why some people may be wary of getting the vaccine, which range from the spread of misinformation to legitimate concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Additionally, certain communities have experienced racism and discrimination in the health care system, so listening to their concerns and establishing their trust are vital to building confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines and protecting everyone.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer
Public Health Agency of Canada

Quick facts

  • Under the Challenge, the community-driven communications campaigns will run over a 12-week period. Once they have concluded, finalists must present a final report outlining what they have achieved and a grand prize winner will be chosen and awarded $100,000. 

  • In addition to increasing confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, the Challenge also seeks to reinforce the use of multiple personal preventative public health measures, particularly with the increased circulation of some variants of concern that can spread more easily.

  • To help interested participants prepare their proposals, as well as the selected finalists develop their campaigns, support will be provided by a Behavioural Insights Team.

  • Proposals must be submitted by April 9, 2021. 

  • Vaccine hesitancy is a complex issue due to multiple factors that can erode public confidence in vaccines. The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with a range of partners and stakeholders including provinces, territories, healthcare workers and other experts to support Canadians’ understanding of, and confidence, in COVID-19 vaccines, including underserved, Indigenous and racialized communities. 

  • The Government of Canada continues to work with partners and stakeholders to engage with underserved communities through various outreach and engagement sessions and to develop public education activities to use different approaches to reach different segments of the public. 

Associated links


Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

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Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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