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About the Project

The South Asian Vaccine Engagement Collaborative (SAVEC) was a community-driven initiative aimed at increasing COVID-19 testing, vaccine confidence, and access among South Asian communities in Toronto. To achieve this goal, SAVEC worked with South Asian agencies, community leaders, experts, and media outlets to develop agile, population-specific, and culturally responsive strategies. The initiative included various efforts such as training sessions, community-specific webinars, support for vaccine clinics, and mobilizing South Asian Community Ambassadors for focused outreach.

The initiative, which was funded by the City of Toronto and coordinated by Mahdiba Chowdhury and Wardah Malik at CASSA, comprised 12 organizations, including CASSA, Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), Bangladeshi-Canadian Community Services (BCS), Bangladesh Centre and Community Services (BCCS), Canadian Pakistani Association of Scarborough (CPAS), Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS), Settlement Assistance and Family Support Services (SAFSS), South Asian COVID Task Force (SACTF), South Asian Health Network (SAHN), South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO), South Asian Women’s Rights Organization (SAWRO), and Tamil Canadian Centre for Civic Action (TCCCA).

Engagement Metrics

SAVEC’s team of 40+ Community Ambassadors employed a variety of diverse, creative, and hyperlocal outreach and engagement strategies that were responsive to community needs and the evolving pandemic conditions, as well as the political and social contexts. SAVEC worked along two streams of engagements:


SAVEC’s in-person engagements included supporting mobile/pop-up vaccine clinics and testing sites in collaboration with Toronto Public Health, GO-VAXX, and Red Cross. We also engaged in specific outreach efforts such as door-knocking, flyering, lobby outreach, and hosting information booths in public settings. During these engagements, our Community Ambassadors distributed personal protective equipment (PPE), rapid antigen test kits (RATs), and incentives such as pre-filled Presto cards and ridesharing vouchers to assist those facing transportation barriers. To further address barriers faced by South Asian communities in accessing COVID-19 testing and vaccines in Toronto, our Community Ambassadors also supported on-site clinic registrations, printed vaccine receipts, and provided language-specific services and resources.


Neighborhoods/Streets Engaged
* List of Neighbourhoods


Local Businesses Engaged


Places of Worship Engaged


Residents Engaged


Appointments Booked


PPE/RATs & Incentives Distributed.


SAVEC’s online engagement strategies were diverse and included illustrations, short animations, infographics, and virtual sessions such as webinars, workshops, town halls, podcasts, phone calls, Q&A drop-in sessions, and live broadcasts. Examples of our content can be found below. Additionally, SAVEC’s content was not limited to CASSA’s website and social media, but was also shared on the websites and social media of our collaborative members. We encourage you to check out their pages as well.


Ethnic Media Outlets Engaged (E.g., radio, TV, newspaper)


Residents Engaged


Social Media Contents Created


Residents Engaged


Virtual Sessions Created


Residents Engaged

The Pandemic in SAVEC Illustrations

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The Education Series

SAVEC’s Educational Series addresses community concerns through short animated videos. With help from our translators, SAVEC has released videos on a range of topics, including: children’s vaccines, myth-busting, mRNA vaccine makeup. Each video is available in English, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu, and Bangla.

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The Pandemic in SAVEC Poems

The Pandemic in SAVEC Poems explores vaccines and lockdowns from a South Asian perspective. This project is meant to shed light on daily life and struggles of South Asians in the hopes that it will encourage others to get vaccinated.

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A major part of vaccine engagement work is combating misinformation. Infographics are a powerful tool and can be circulated widely in order to educate communities across Toronto and Canada. SAVEC is dedicated to providing up-to-date resources and scientific facts that back the vaccine distribution campaign. Community members are encouraged to use these resources to make informed decisions regarding their health. Each infographic is available in English, Bangla, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu.

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Webinar Series

As part of SAVEC, CASSA hosts webinar series to educate our volunteers, staff, outreach workers, and partner organizations. Here, the goal is to ensure that community members are considered and well-accounted for when vaccine engagement strategies are developed. If there is a possible gap or an issue of vaccine equity, a webinar is the designated space to have a discussion on how to properly engage. This is one of the ways we make our work mindful and accountable to all.

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Podcast Series

This is CASSA’s vaccine engagement series where we invite experts across Canada to weigh in on COVID–19–related issues and topics.


Our Partners

Funded by the City of Toronto