COVID-19 Vaccination Decision-Making:

Perspectives from Equity-Seeking Groups (Service Providers)

Letter of Information and Consent to Participate in a Research Study


Principal Investigator:                                              Co-Investigator

Janet Parsons                                                               Clara Juando-Prats

Applied Health Research Centre                                  Applied Health Research Centre

Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute                                Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute

St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto              St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto

30 Bond St., Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8                         30 Bond St., Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8

Telephone: 416-864-6060 ext. 7111                            Telephone: 416-360-4000 ext. 47850

Email:                           Email:


Janet McLaughlin                                                         Notisha Massaquoi

Associate Professor, Community Health                      Assistant Professor

Research Associate,                                                     Department of Health and Society

International Migration Research Centre                     University of Toronto Scarborough

Wilfrid Laurier University                                            E-mail:



Community Partners:

College Montrose Place: Corina John, Mark Osler and Emilia Rodrigues

Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers: Eduardo Huesca and Michelle Tew

Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre: Muna Aden


Research Coordinator:

Jannah Wigle

Applied Health Research Centre,

St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto

30 Bond St., Toronto, ON M5B 1W8

Phone: 416-360-4000 ext. 47834



Granting Agencies: The Vaccine Readiness Grant: Social Sciences and Humanities Project provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, through the Canadian Immunization Research Network.


Conflicts of Interest:

There are no known conflicts of interest on the part of the investigators and/or study institutions. This study is paid for with money from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Immunization Research Network. This includes pay for study staff.



You are being asked to consider participating in this research study because of your role providing services to [insert relevant groups served and organization]. This study titled, “COVID-19 Vaccination Decision-Making: Perspectives from Equity-Seeking Groups”, uses interviews and focus groups to explore the perspectives, experiences, concerns and information needs related to COVID-19 vaccination among Ontario residents of African, Black, Caribbean or Latinx communities, international agricultural workers, and persons who  immigrated to Canada in the last five years, and dwelling in Ontario. This study will help us to identify information needs of communities, and barriers to accessing COVID-19 vaccination. This information sheet explains the purpose of our study, the risks and benefits, and what you will be asked to do. Taking part is entirely voluntary. You can contact the Research Coordinator (Jannah Wigle, or 416-360-4000 ext. 47384) if you have any questions. Taking part in this study is your choice. You may decide not to take part, or you may withdraw from the study at any time without consequence.


Why is this study being done?
A better understanding of the perspectives, experiences, and concerns of equity-seeking groups (including international agricultural workers, members of African, Black, Caribbean or Latinx communities, and newcomers in Ontario) regarding the COVID-19 vaccination and rollout is needed, as these individuals often experience worse outcomes from COVID-19 infections.


Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for all individuals over 12 years of age (for Pfizer-BioNTech) and over 18 years (for Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines). We hope this study will help to inform the development of culturally and contextually appropriate vaccination strategies for a wide range of Ontarians.  Our research team will conduct six focus groups (with 6-10 individuals each) and up to 21 interviews. The goals of this study are:

  1. To explore the perspectives, experiences and concerns of equity-seeking (international agricultural workers,members of African, Black, Caribbean or Latinx communities, and newcomers inOntario) groups regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
  2. To explore what information is valued within ESGs to inform COVID-19 vaccination decisions.
  3. To determine how information and messaging about COVID-19 vaccinationshould be shared and communicated within equity-seeking groups.
  4. To identify systemic barriers (and their implications) to accessing COVID vaccination.


To meet these goals, the study will involve working in partnership with community-based organizations, researchers, healthcare providers and service providers who are members of and/or working closely with African, Black, Caribbean or Latinx Ontarians, international agricultural workers, and persons who immigrated to Ontario within the last five years. We plan to conduct focus groups and interviews with equity-seeking groups and service providers for these communities to better understand their experiences related to COVID-19 vaccination.


What is the purpose of this focus group?

Focus group discussions will help our team understand the diverse perspectives, experiences and concerns of equity-seeking groups and service providers regarding COVID-19 vaccination in Ontario.


What will I be asked to do?

You are being asked to participate in a focus group. This will be held on the phone or using a video conference program, like Zoom. It will be scheduled at a time you find convenient. Focus groups may last between 60 and 90 minutes to ensure all participants have an opportunity to share their perspectives and to foster an in-depth discussion. Focus groups are audio recorded so that we do not lose any detail of the conversation. During the focus groups, some of the questions may seem personal and may make you feel uncomfortable or may upset you. You can skip questions that you do not want to answer. If you have any questions or concerns while answering these questions, please mention them to the facilitator. All participants in the focus group will be reminded to keep the discussion confidential; but the study investigators cannot guarantee that other participants will not share your information or responses. Prior to the focus group, we will ask some demographic questions by phone, such as age, gender identity, ethnicity, and employment status. Any information will be used strictly to contact you for study purposes or to collect demographic information about study participants.


What are the burdens, harms, and potential harms?

There are no known risks to taking part in the focus group, however, it is possible that you may not like all of the questions that are being asked. If at any point you feel uncomfortable answering a question, you can choose not to answer it. You can pause or stop participation in the focus group at any time. If you feel upset because of this focus group, we will refer you to services that can provide you with more information and support.


What are the possible benefits?

Participating in this study will have no direct benefits to you. The findings of our study may help inform the development of more culturally and contextually appropriate strategies for COVID-19 vaccination in Ontario


Can I withdraw from the study?

Your participation in this study is voluntary. If you choose not to participate, there will be no impact to the medical care received at, employment at, or other relationship with Unity Health Toronto now or in the future for you or your family.  You can withdraw from the study at any time. For focus groups, if you choose to withdraw we will endeavour not to include quotes from you in the analysis. However, we cannot destroy the tapes without disregarding the rights of the other study participants who wish to be included.


The funders for this study (CIHR/CIRN), the Research Ethics Board of Unity Health Toronto and the principal investigator (Dr. Janet Parsons) have the right to stop inviting individuals to participate or cancel the study at any time.


Will the study cost me anything and, if so, how will I be reimbursed?

Your participation in this focus group will not involve any additional costs to you. As a token of our appreciation, you will receive a $50.00 gift card for your time and participation.


How will I be informed of study results?

You have the right to be informed of the results of this study once the entire study is complete. If you are interested in obtaining the results of the study, you can contact the investigators or research team. We estimate that the results of the study will be available in 2022.


How will my privacy be protected?

Protecting your privacy is an important part of this study. As such, every effort to protect your privacy will be made; however, complete privacy cannot be guaranteed. Other than the individuals or groups described in this section, no persons will have access to your identifiable information without your consent, unless required by law.  By law, the researchers must disclose any information that threatens the health, life and safety of yourself or others. Additionally, it is important to understand that despite the protections measures described below, there continues to be the risk of an unintentional release of information. The risk of unintentional release of information is low.


The research team will collect and use only the information they need to complete this study. Any personal health information, such as contact information and gender, will be used strictly to contact you for study purposes and to collect demographic information about study participants.  The investigator(s) and study staff will keep the information they hear or receive about you confidential, in accordance with the procedures set out in this information sheet, and to the extent permitted by applicable laws. The audio recording from the focus group will be transcribed word-for-word except for personally identifying information (e.g., names, locations) which will not be transcribed. The researcher conducting the focus group will ask all participants to please respect everyone’s privacy by not repeating anything that was said in the focus group outside of the focus group. All data, including audio recordings, notes and transcripts will be stored on secure servers at St. Michael’s Hospital, accessible only on a password-protected computer by trained study personnel. Study data may also be transferred outside of Unity Health Toronto and shared with others for purposes related to the conduct of this study. Your personal information will not be given to anyone outside the local research team; however, study records identifying you may be inspected in the presence of the Investigator or his/her designate by representatives of the study sponsor and/or the Research Ethics Board, Unity Health Toronto for the purpose of monitoring the research.


Any information that is recorded for study purposes will be de-identified by using a unique study identification number instead of any of your personal identifiers. The principal investigator at Unity Health site, Dr. Janet Parsons, is in control of the key that links your study number to you personally. All study documents will be stored on the secure server for five years after the study is complete, and then destroyed (all digital files will be deleted). Audio recording will be deleted 6 months after study results have been published. Direct quotes may be used in future publications; however, there will be no way to identify the original speaker.


What are my Research Rights?

You have the right to all information that could help you decide about participating in this study. You have the right to ask questions about this study and your rights as a valued research participant. You have the right to have your questions answered to your satisfaction before deciding to continue participating. You also have the right to ask questions and to receive answers throughout this study. Under no circumstances does your consent make you waive your legal rights, nor discharge the researchers or any other party involved of their legal and professional responsibilities.


The study has been reviewed by the Research Ethics Board, Unity Health Toronto. If you have any questions at any time during or after the study about research in general or your rights as a participant, you may contact the Chair of the Research Ethics Board, Unity Health Toronto at 416-864-6060 ext. 2557.


How do I get involved?

If you would like to participate or if you have any questions, please contact the Research Coordinator, Jannah Wigle ( or 416-360-4000 ext. 47384). Verbal consent to participate will be obtained before the focus group.


Please note that email is not secure. Emails can be intercepted, viewed, changed or saved by others. Only send information to this address that you do not feel is sensitive.


Thank you for considering participation in this study!

Title: COVID-19 Vaccination Decision-Making: Perspectives of Equity-Seeking Groups

Version: 2

Date: 16 November 2021