Immunization rates in the United States are often lower among people born in another country. To avoid compounding the pandemic’s burden on refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities, local governments must make vaccination more accessible. This will require overcoming barriers to vaccination due to:
- Cultural factors
- Knowledge and beliefs about a disease or vaccine
- Healthcare access
Health departments, community-based organizations, and others have free access this initial set of resources that support with vaccine planning, roll-out, knowledge, and confidence among RIM communities. Please check back regularly as we will continue to update resources as they become available.
Promising Practices are strategies, approaches, or programs that have anecdotally shown to have a positive impact in some local settings, however, there is not yet enough research-based evidence to certify as a best practice.
Vaccine Campaign Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations
Faith-based organizations frequently play an integral role within communities. Select this promising practice to learn more about involving faith-based organizations in vaccine campaigns.
Vaccine Listening Sessions with Communities
A listening session is a facilitated discussion with a group of individuals aimed at collecting information about a specific topic. Listening sessions are an effective way to hear directly from communities about COVID-19-related topics, including vaccines. Select this promising practice to learn more about vaccine listening sessions.
Convenient Vaccine Access for Communities
Bringing vaccines to communities, rather than relying on community members to find their way to medical services, is more efficient and has much greater efficacy. Select this promising practice to learn more.
Mobile Vaccine Units to Serve Communities
Ensuring equitable barrier-free access to vaccines and accurate health information is especially critical for RIM communities to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19. Mobile vaccine units are proving to be a successful solution for ensuring COVID-19 vaccines reach RIM populations.
Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Sites
Through community partnerships, “pop-up” COVID-19 vaccine sites in locations such as apartment complexes are a promising practice to bring vaccines directly to the community.
These fact sheets were translated by professional translators, and went through a rigorous review process that involved linguists as well as people in the target communities. Please report any errors to us at [email protected].
Research has shown that people are more likely to become vaccinated if they are knowledgeable about both the disease and the vaccine that protects them from infection.
Community Engagement is Key
Members of any community know best how to communicate with their peers, which is why we advocate for community involvement as a central element to any COVID-19 response. Learn more
When developing your messaging, make sure you cater to the community's needs and preferences with regard to trusted messengers, literacy level and format. You'll also need to answer their questions - community listening sessions are one way to achieve this. Learn more
A Welcoming Environment
One way to address vaccine hesitancy is to create a welcoming environment:
- Provide vaccine information in advance
- Have an interpreter present
- Don't rush the patients as they make choices
- Give clear directions about what to expect
- Be patient with follow-up questions
Never stop inquiring about patients’ vaccine status and to take time to address a parent’s concerns. For example, research has shown that Somali refugees are more open to vaccines if healthcare providers bring it up frequently and continue to offer the vaccine even after refusal.
Distribution should be tailored to a community’s preferences. For example, before the pandemic, research showed that some Latino communities trusted information provided by schools and churches, as well as media sources like TV, radio and social media. In fact, some communities trusted radio more than TV because it is less sensational. Home-based education was also effective. It is essential to confirm these preferences in the current era of COVID-19 before beginning a campaign.
- Acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines (WHO)
- Communications Toolkit (NRC-RIM)
- COVID vaccination communication (NIH)
- Myths about the COVID vaccine (LA County)
- Understanding and Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy During COVID-19 (APhA)
- Videos and scripts that can be adapted (NRC-RIM)
- Vaccine Misinformation Management Field Guide (UNICEF)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Common Vocabulary (MDH)