COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program May Reach 200,000 Unvaccinated People

Surgo Ventures
3 min readJul 19, 2022


Our successful COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program is now available in 13 community health organizations with more than 70 individual clinics across eight states. The program has the potential to reach 200,000 people who otherwise may not receive a COVID-19 vaccine. It has been implemented in partnership with Uber Health and the Vaccine Access Fund, which is managed by LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation).

The COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program is an incentive program that encourages vaccinated patients from participating clinics to tap their social networks and existing, trusted relationships to have conversations about COVID-19 vaccination. These “vaccine ambassadors” receive a $20 gift card to either text at least three unvaccinated friends or family members and urge them to get vaccinated or to bring an unvaccinated person to the clinic.

The program also equips clinic staff to be vaccine ambassadors by providing a set of personalized, behavioral science-based scripts for staff to use during interactions with unvaccinated patients.

The Vaccine Ambassador Journey

“This program is a prime example of our ability to combine rigorous behavioral science research with real-world interventions designed to change behavior and promote health equity. And it has immense potential to be used for any other vaccination or public health campaign.” — Hannah Kemp, Surgo Ventures Vice President of Impact and Growth.

Thirteen health organizations participated in a grant application process in March 2022 and were awarded up to $10,000 through the Vaccine Access Fund to implement the program. These include:

Surgo Ventures is providing technical assistance to help these organizations set up and implement program tools and resources, including individualized guidance in using its freely available Vaccine Ambassador Toolkit.

Eight of these health centers are also receiving funding from LISC’s Vaccine Access Grant to arrange rides with Uber to and from vaccination appointments to help meet the needs of their patients who face transportation barriers in getting vaccinated.

More about the COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program

In early 2021, Surgo Ventures conducted one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of vaccine hesitancy in the US and identified five psychobehavioral segments (or “vaccine personas”). Three of these personas, representing 43 percent of the entire US adult population, were identified to be persuadable if targeted with the right intervention.

Based on these learnings, Surgo Ventures developed a set of tools with personalized messages and scripts to promote COVID-19 vaccine uptake with these three personas. This developed into the COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program, which was piloted for two months at Mary’s Center in Washington DC and resulted in 320 patient vaccine ambassadors. Now, Surgo Ventures and its partners are working to scale these great results for broader vaccine uptake in other communities.

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