How Can Community-Based Organizations Help Support the COVID-19 Vaccination Effort?

Build Vaccine Confidence

This resource provides community-based organizations (CBOs) with tools to assist in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

If you prefer a PDF download, we have PDF downloads in English and Spanish that include links to all the resources on this page.

Talk about the COVID-19 vaccine with your community and partners.

Community-based organizations (CBOs) have an important role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. You can be a voice of hope and wisdom in these challenging times.

1. Promote the value and benefit of the vaccine.

  • Lead from the front! Share your vaccination and booster stories and talk about how you chose to vaccinate yourself and your family.
  • Encourage your staff and community members to serve as role models for their family, friends, and the community by sharing their reasons for getting vaccinated and their positive vaccination experiences. Surveys have shown that nothing sways a vaccine-hesitant person to get vaccinated more than encouragement from a family member or friend.
  • Acknowledge your community’s concerns and skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Be the voice of hope and wisdom in your community during these challenging times—share accurate scientific information about COVID-19 and the development of these safe and effective vaccines.
  • Capture positive vaccination experiences via video, infographics, or photos to share on social media and with your networks.

2. Talk about the benefits of vaccination.

  • Getting vaccinated helps keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe.
  • COVID-19 vaccines can protect us as individuals and protect our communities. When large numbers of people are vaccinated in a community, we slow the spread of the virus.
  • COVID-19 vaccines can help prevent hospitalization and death and protect us from experiencing the long-term effects of COVID-19.

3. Invite a local trusted health care provider to your community events and identify and engage trusted messengers in your community.

  • Having a subject matter expert on vaccination can help to build confidence in the vaccines.
  • Having a local trusted messenger from within the community is key. Involve them in the planning process and in the development of key messages. Test those messages with members of your community.

COVID-19 Vaccination Messages to Share With Your Community

  • Let’s all work together to protect our community by getting vaccinated.
  • Let’s unite in support of our scientific and medical communities’ vaccination efforts.
  • Thanks to our joint efforts, COVID-19 can be controlled so that we may return to the lives we loved.
  • Getting vaccinated can help us all get back to life—including the in-person community experiences we have all missed so much.

How to Support State and Local Immunization Programs’ Communication Efforts

  • Reinforce state and local health departments’ messages through your communications, such as bulletins, social media, newsletters, and phone trees.
  • Offer the immunization program insight into how your community best receives information. The immunization program’s traditional approaches for sharing information may not fit well within your community. Your insights can help the program modify its approach. For example, some communities may find that sharing the information during regularly scheduled community events may be more beneficial than distributing information on social media if the social media channel does not have a lot of followers.
  • Offer to review state and local health communication messages to make sure they resonate with your community— including any language preferences/translations and insights into local customs.
  • Consider co-branding state and local health department messages by adding your logo and contact information to their materials. Co-branding branding lets your community know that you support the work of the immunization program and that this program is a valuable and trusted resource for your community.

Support COVID-19 Vaccine Access

Offer your CBO as a vaccination site.

Are you interested in making COVID-19 vaccines more accessible in your community? Do you have a facility with ample open space? Do you have an outdoor space that could host a walk-up or drive-thru event? Consider offering your facility as a vaccination site!

Depending on your location, you might work with your local government to host a vaccination clinic. Immunization programs are part of state and local health departments and are responsible for overseeing the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in your area. Health departments are structured differently, depending on where you live. These agencies can determine the best way for your organization to get involved.

Other Key Resources:

This table defines the difference between centralized, decentralized and shared or mixed public health structures and action steps program managers can take.

How to Work with Immunization Programs to Support Vaccine Access at Your Community-Based Organization

1. Know what to expect. Your state or local immunization program may want to work with you directly or may refer you to a local pharmacy, healthcare agency, or other organization that can partner with you in your efforts to vaccinate your community.

2. Work with all of your CBO’s decision-makers to agree on your goals and the resources and time you are realistically able to offer.

  • State, county, and local guidelines regarding meeting capacity in light of COVID-19 restrictions and the need for social distancing.
  • Your capacity to hold vaccination clinics in your facility, such as available square footage, parking, restrooms, a socially distant waiting/ line area, a separate entrance and exit, electrical requirements for vaccine storage equipment, supplies and equipment such as tables and chairs, hours of operation, staff support and compensation, disability-friendly transportation, and creative options such as outdoor spaces and drive-thru vaccination.
  • Existing in-person services you offer and if both a vaccine clinic and these essential services can operate safely at the same time.
  • If you have multiple locations, which one will be the most accessible location to the people who need the vaccine the most?
  • Liability insurance limitations you may have when offering your space.
  • Communicating to your community where vaccine clinics are located if you cannot host a clinic.
  • Inviting a subject matter expert on vaccination to help build confidence in the vaccine.
  • Hosting several information sessions leading up to a vaccination event to help build vaccine confidence.
  • Combining another event with your vaccination clinic, for example, a food drive/giveaway or a health fair addressing other issues that may face your community, such as nutrition, mental health, etc.

3. Reach out to your local health department and explain who you are, what your goals are, and the resources you have.

  • If your organization is part of a larger organization, coordinate within your organization and have one person reach out to the health department on behalf of the group. This will make it easier for public health to work with you.

4. Investigate funding opportunities for the distribution and administration of vaccinations.

  • Ask your state and/or local health department whether they provide funding opportunities for COVID-19 vaccination activities.
  • The Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may provide funding opportunities. Certain private non-profit organizations that own and operate medical care facilities may be able to apply to FEMA for the cost of work to support the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines under the Public Assistance Program. More information may be found here.
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