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.
Visual: Vaccine Journey
Follow the Vaccine Journey to learn all the considerations you need to examine as you plan your COVID-19 vaccination efforts. From social influences to transportation barriers to culturally aware staff, you can influence your organization every step of the way.
COVID-19 Vaccine Focus Groups - Note Taking Guide & Template
Focus group discussions (FGD) are an effective way to collect valuable information from communities about COVID-19 vaccines. FGDs can inform community education and vaccine roll-out efforts. This guide is intended for health departments, community-based organizations, and others interested in conducting FGDs. See the accompanying note taking guide and template for additional guidance. Download now
COVID-19 Vaccine Focus Groups - Facilitation Guide
Focus group discussions (FGD) are an effective way to collect valuable information from communities about COVID-19 vaccines. FGDs can inform community education and vaccine roll-out efforts. This guide is intended for health departments, community-based organizations, and others interested in conducting FGDs. See the accompanying note taking guide and template for additional guidance. Download English | Download Spanish
Guide: Addressing Legal Concerns Around Immigration-Related Vaccine Hesitancy
Immigrants may have concerns about government authorities’ access to personal information provided at vaccine clinics. For some immigrants, even the notion of confidentiality in government processes is novel. Learn how to build partnerships ahead of vaccination clinics and how to design an affirming vaccination event. Download now
IDs and Insurance: Know Your Rights
This resource, created by Made to Save, answers commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and immigration status, health insurance status, and being asked for a valid ID. Download in English | Spanish
COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Rapid Community Assessment Guide
The CDC has developed a rapid community assessment guide to help state and local health departments diagnose and address access and confidence challenges related to COVID-19 vaccines that specific communities may be experiencing. Download now
A Guide for Community Partners: Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Among Members of Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities
The Guide for Community Partners is a resource for organizations with community-level reach that are looking to get engaged in or support COVID-19 vaccination confidence and access in racial and ethnic minority communities.
Download English | Download Spanish
Tips for ORR Grantees
Developed by NRC-RIM, this resource outlines ways that ORR-funded programs can provide COVID-19 vaccination outreach, education, and support to ORR-eligible clients and communities. Visit now
Many client-facing staff are receiving client questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Developed by NRC-RIM, these resources help client-facing staff competently respond to common vaccine questions. Visit now
FAQs: The COVID-19 Vaccine and Migrant, Immigrant, and Food & Farm Worker Patients
This resource will be routinely updated to cover FAQs from health care providers about the COVID-19 vaccine and their migrant, immigrant, and food & farm worker patients. Download in Spanish
Content Validation Guidance and Checklist
Content validation is a structured process through which bilingual, bicultural community members review materials and provide critical feedback to ensure the material is appropriately designed and/or translated for the community it is trying to reach. This guide offers practical suggestions - including a checklist - for implementing a content validation process for your materials.
Discussion Guide for Building Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines for Immigrants and Refugees
Conversations about the COVID-19 vaccines with your community members and clients may take many different forms and may happen in many different settings. In this guide, you will find a proposed flow for those conversations. Download now
CHW Comics COVID-19 Toolkit
This comic-inspired toolkit, created by El Sol, uses theater and arts to help Community Health Workers/Promotores (CHWs/Ps) encourage vaccination in under-resourced communities experiencing higher vaccine hesitancy. Captain Empath and the CHWs/Ps fight against COVID-19 by educating and motivating community members to protect themselves by getting vaccinated. Learn more
COVID-19 Information Navigator Webinar
This free training will support bilingual and multilingual community members in the important role of helping reduce the health information barriers by sharing vital health information with people in your community who have limited-English skills. The training will provide tools and strategies for identifying and communicating important COVID-19 and other health information. Access now
COVID Vaccine Ambassador Training: How to Talk to Parents
This is free online course on Coursera from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, International Vaccine Access Center, and Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions. The course aims to provide “vaccine ambassadors” with the tools to discuss concerns about COVID-19 vaccines with people in their communities. The self-paced course teaches adults how to have respectful and empathetic conversations with parents and guardians who remain hesitant about vaccination for their children, even if they are vaccinated themselves. Access now
Designing Community-Based Communication Campaigns Manual
This manual offers guidance to readers as they create local public health, social change, or social action campaigns for target communities. The contents of the manual are based on best and promising practices for community-based public health communication campaigns. It offers useful steps and supporting materials to use while designing a strategy-informed
hyper-local campaign. Download now
Checklist: Vaccine Considerations to Reach Migrant and Immigrant Workers
This checklist outlines important considerations for health departments and vaccine clinics to reach migrant and immigrant workers. Download in English or Spanish
Checklist: COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out among Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants
Ensuring opportunities for COVID-19 vaccination among refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities is important. Consider the following actions when implementing vaccination campaigns among these communities. Download now
Guide for Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Campaigns for Immigrant Dairy Workers
There are a number of important considerations when organizing vaccination campaigns for dairy workers from immigrant communities. This comprehensive resource offers practical guidance to vaccine event organizers. The guide covers step-by-step instructions on identifying community partners, planning the event, and implementing the event. Download now
Guide: Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Campaigns for Refugee, Immigrant and Migrant (RIM) Communities
Bringing healthcare, including COVID-19 vaccinations to where people live, work, learn and play has promising potential to improve community engagement and communities. This guide is intended for health professionals, public health departments, and community organizations to help plan vaccination events for RIM communities. Download now
Recommendations for Welcoming and Inclusive Vaccination Sites
The following recommendations are to build upon our shared goal of equitable and accessible community vaccination opportunities. These recommendations are being shared with all vaccine providers as a way to assure a positive vaccination experience for all communities. Visit now
COVID-19 Vaccination Card Recommendations for Patients Who Use Aliases
Vaccination cards are the most common method to prove one’s vaccination status that we use, and their new purpose can result in important consequences for those who use an alias, especially for workers who were vaccinated before they knew there would be workplace mandates. Learn more
Apartment Complex Script (General Version)
One successful way to bring vaccines to people’s homes is by partnering with apartment complexes to host vaccine clinics. Bringing vaccines to apartment complexes not only makes it easier for individuals to access vaccinations, but also helps apartment managers keep their complexes healthy and safe. This is a sample script that organizations can reference when reaching out to potential apartment complex partners. Download now
Addressing COVID-19 Misinformation: A Guide for Health Professionals
This guide for health care workers and community messengers provides fact-based responses to common questions as well as examples of ways to address misinformation within communities. Download in English and Spanish
The Debunking Handbook 2020
This handbook summarizes the current state of the science of misinformation and its debunking. It represents the current consensus on the science of debunking for engaged citizens, policymakers, journalists, and other practitioners. Available in multiple languages. Download now
Vaccine Misinformation Management Field Guide
Unicef published a guide that aims to help organizations to address the global infodemic through the development of strategic and well-coordinated national action plans to rapidly counter vaccine misinformation and build demand for vaccination that are informed by social listening. Download now
The Road to COVID-19 Immunity: Building Trust and Combating Misinformation
The International Rescue Committee's (IRC) white paper identifies ways the international community can assist with efforts to build trust and combat misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. Download now
A Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation
Health misinformation is causing harm to individuals and to communities, but talking to one another about its impact can help slow the spread by prompting us to think twice about the information we’re reading and sharing. This toolkit will help you get started. Download now
Outreach to Faith-Based Organizations
Faith-based organizations provide social and spiritual connections and play a critical role in providing and supporting social services within communities. Read these tips on how to connect and collaborate with faith-based organizations. Download now
Guide for Religious Leaders
Our colleagues at American Muslim Health Professionals published a Vaccine Khutbah Guide in collaboration with North American Imams Federation (NAIF) to help Imams and religious leaders encourage community members to get vaccinated. Read now
Ramadan 2022 Calendar Template
In recognition of the cultural significance and importance of using calendars during the month of Ramadan, please find below the Ramadan FY22 Calendar templates. The template is available in:
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.
Bridging Faith and Health: Effective Strategies for COVID–19 Mitigation in Muslim Faith Communities
Faith-based approaches to health interventions, particularly involving mosques and including religious leaders, have proven to be instrumental in reaching and positively impacting Muslim communities in the context of COVID-19 mitigation.
Multiple Touchpoints to Support Vaccine Uptake
Using multiple touch points in vaccine outreach through reminder systems, such as phone calls, letters, and text messages, can significantly increase vaccine uptake. Several studies have demonstrated the positive impact of these reminder systems on vaccination rates. To keep RIM communities safe, it is vitally important to convey information about COVID-19 vaccines that is not only timely, accurate and accessible but addresses potential barriers.
Working Toward Equitable Language Access
For many refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) community members, navigating the complex U.S. healthcare system is challenging, even in normal times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, existing inequities in health and access to health care have been compounded by inadequate or insufficient COVID-19 information in languages other than English. To keep RIM communities safe, it is vitally important to convey information about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines that is not only timely, accurate and accessible, but also culturally and linguistically relevant.
Pop-Up Vaccination Events at Community Clinics
Offering vaccinations through pop-up events at community clinics already familiar to refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities is a promising practice to support equitable and efficient vaccine distribution.
Vaccinating Youth and Adults During Pediatric Visits
When eligible children and their adult relatives have opportunities to get vaccinated at pediatric clinics and children’s hospitals, some of the barriers to vaccinating the whole family are reduced. Young children see their pediatricians relatively frequently for well visits, or regular check-ups. Visits for adolescents and children aged 5 or older are an opportunity to talk to the whole family about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Encouraging Youth to Mask Up and Get Vaccinated for their Families and Community
One successful strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19 in RIM communities is to appeal to young people. This can be done by highlighting their community’s cultural values, which may include solidarity, collective responsibility, reciprocity, duty to family, respect for elders, or other values that are consistent with taking action to protect others.
Messaging to Reduce Risk in Areas with Lower Vaccination Rates
COVID-19 messaging changes rapidly and some health departments may face challenges with developing health messaging that reaches all communities. In areas with lower vaccination rates and among populations with a degree of vaccine hesitancy, it is vitally important to promote a layered approach to risk mitigation.
Building vaccine confidence takes time and trust. Client-facing staff and others working directly with community members seeking to dispel fear, misinformation, and disinformation will usually need to engage and explore people's hesitancy before sharing accurate information. One helpful way to do this is using some of the techniques found in Motivational Interviewing.
Community fairs are a promising way to offer vaccination and other useful services to RIM communities in a relaxed and informal setting. Hosted at an accessible site, community fairs can be organized around themes ranging from school to community health to community resources like food, rent and utility assistance. Read more about how community fairs can be implemented in your community.
Working with Interpretation Companies to Facilitate COVID-19 Vaccine Sign Up
Reliance on internet-based registration and locations that accommodate large numbers of people for vaccine administration may be ineffective for many RIM communities due to linguistic limitations, unreliable internet access and overall internet navigation barriers. Partnerships with interpretation services are essential to reach RIM communities, maximize resources, and improve the delivery of services and resources.
Partnering with Social Media Influencers
Social media is a primary source of information for much of the US public, especially youth and young adults. Organizations that are unable to utilize social media to engage with the community can result in a trusted and known presence being absent from this important space, allowing myths, misinformation and disinformation to spread without competition. A solution that can help LHDs and CBOs reach RIM communities through social media, while saving time and effort, is leveraging existing social media influencers.
COVID-19 Vaccine Collaborative
Collaboratives are community engagement structures that facilitate communication between health departments and communities and are being used to support COVID-19 vaccine roll out.
Role of Public Libraries in COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Public libraries serve as ideal partners for COVID-19 vaccination rollout. As a trusted source of information and a well-connected hub within their local communities, libraries across America are working with local and state governments and community leaders to support vaccination efforts.
Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors
Youth and young adults continue to have low COVID-19 vaccination rates across the US. Engaging youth is vital in the next stage of vaccine promotion and for reaching herd immunity. Learn how youth ambassadors bring their unique perspectives on how to cut through the noise to deliver important COVID-19 messaging to young people.
Videos to Document and Share Vaccine Experiences Among Community Members
Ensuring access to accurate vaccine facts and information about vaccination sites and the process is critical for RIM community members to overcome misconceptions and barriers in access to COVID-19 vaccines. RIM community members are recording their experiences navigating vaccination sites and receiving the vaccination. Sharing these real experiences allows the RIM community to see what they can expect when visiting a site, which can ease mistrust or confusion.
Staff Testimonials to Normalize Vaccine Experiences
Public health departments, resettlement agencies, ethnic-based community organizations, community-based organizations and others working with refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) communities can help overcome misinformation and disinformation by creating their own staff testimonial videos. It can be particularly helpful when vaccinated staff are also multilingual and from RIM communities.
Using Storytelling to Increase Vaccine Confidence
The availability of accurate COVID-19 information that is culturally- and linguistically relevant is essential to keeping communities safe. Use testimonials that portray real stories from community members to communicate trusted information and make positive behavior changes.
Phone Trees to Facilitate Vaccine Access
To respond effectively to COVID-19 and to longstanding health inequities made worse by the pandemic, it is essential to leverage community strengths and trusted community networks. Phone trees are one strategy to disseminate important public health information during the pandemic.
Hyperlocal Videos of City and State COVID-19 Updates
It is vital that linguistically and culturally appropriate messaging created by and from the community is accessible. These informal videos respond to RIM communities’ expressed concerns while disseminating major local and regional updates from city and state officials.
Assisting Migrants Accessing Second COVID-19 Vaccine Doses
Tracking vaccine doses for migrants is a necessary step towards providing accessible and equitable healthcare for migrants, and can make getting second COVID-19 vaccine doses easier, resulting in a successful completion of the second shot in a two-dose vaccine.
Using Facebook Groups to Navigate the COVID-19 Vaccine Sign-Up Process
Using Facebook groups to connect individuals to assistance with COVID-19 vaccine sign up is an emerging promising practice to address barriers that some community members may face.
COVID-19 Vaccine Sign Up through Trusted Messengers
One strategy to address vaccine sign up challenges is to encourage COVID-19 vaccine registration through trusted messengers. These messengers, oftentimes community leaders, will be uniquely positioned to deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate COVID-19 vaccine information and be able to interpret and translate relevant information for COVID-19 vaccine registration.
Referral Systems for Vaccine Access
Community mapping is a virtual mapping method created through community engagement that elicits local community members and their networks and is a powerful tool to identify and reach RIM communities.
Multilingual COVID-19 Vaccine Education Workshops
COVID-19 vaccine education workshops, facilitated in a language the community member understands, increases trust, and helps RIM community members make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccine for themselves and their communities.
Partnerships with Refugee Resettlement Agencies
Refugee resettlement agencies are deeply rooted in RIM communities and are uniquely positioned to partner with health departments to reach community members during COVID-19 response efforts.
Initiating the COVID-19 Vaccine Conversation through Flyers
Dispelling myths and alleviating apprehensions around vaccination requires a trusted relationship and a safe, non-judgmental environment for individuals to voice their concerns and ask questions. Initiating COVID-19 vaccine conversations through flyers is a creative way to use a traditional communication method.
Vaccine Ambassadors Program
The Vaccine Ambassador program is led by a state health department and supports community members to serve as trusted messengers of COVID-19 vaccine information.
Embedding Equity throughout the COVID-19 Response Organizational Structure
It is essential to integrate considerations for refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities into all aspects of public health response efforts. Read more about the Minnesota Department of Health’s work to embed equity throughout the COVID-19 response organizational structure.
Physician-Driven Vaccine Outreach
Physicians and other healthcare providers are frequently viewed as leaders and trusted sources of information, especially if they are from the communities they serve.
Culturally Specific Vaccine Information Broadcasts
By partnering with media outlets that are trusted in the community, vaccine messages can be culturally tailored and address unique concerns.
COVID Champions: Trusted Faith Leaders
A COVID-19 Champion is someone who helps disseminate accurate information on public health and safety, local support services, and their own experiences relating to COVID-19 to specific communities, including related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Facebook Videos to Engage Communities
The use of Facebook to share informational videos about COVID-19 among RIM communities and/or to deliver live content through the Facebook Live feature are promising practices for reaching RIM communities.
Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccination through Sports
Building trust in the vaccine through community partnerships and respected officials are key to improving vaccination rates. Engaging communities at familiar and frequented event sites, such as sporting and routine athletic events may be one strategy to decrease some of the barriers to vaccination access for RIM communities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.