Vaccine Equity Strategy Series: Concrete Best Practices and Ideas for Communities

Find short, actionable tips to boost vaccine equity efforts in your community.

Volunteers at a vaccine clinic

Strategy: Help people sort through COVID-19 misinformation to build vaccine confidence

People generally want to make the best decisions they can to keep their families and communities safe from COVID-19, but there is a lot of conflicting information about how to do that. Acknowledge that it’s okay to have questions or be confused, and speak from your own experiences in decided to get vaccinated. You can also provide a quick checklist to help people determine whether information is credible, like: Is the source reputable? Are citations included? Is the information current?

Watch the video, read the thread and watch the full video from PHI’s Berkeley Media Studies Group: Illuminating the context for access and hesitancy.

Strategy: Provide free transportation for people with disabilities

Working with local transit agencies and other partners to provide free transportation to and from vaccine clinics can increase accessibility for people with disabilities, seniors, and people with limited access to reliable transportation or the time to travel to/from sites.

Read and share our full Twitter thread, or watch the full webinar recording from PHI’s Pacific ADA Center: Disability Inclusion and Considerations in Vaccination Centers and Operations


Strategy: Map out vaccination sites

Mapping out vaccine sites can create accessible, conducive spaces for older adults and increase accessibility for some people with disabilities and certain underlying health conditions. See the steps taken to increase accessibility at vaccination sites in St. Louis.

Watch the video (above), read the thread and watch the full video from PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California: Intra-Governmental Partnerships to Reach City of St. Louis Housing Authority Residents.

PHI's Vaccine Equity Strategy Series: Invest in youth leadership
Young people are key messengers on COVID-19 & vaccines
“When you do work with young people and you give them the ability to be creative and lead, they often come up with things that as adults we don’t think of. With training and support, there’s so much that they’re capable of.” - Sue Watson, PHI's Together Toward Health
Tips to partner with and invest in youth: Value youth leadership and create an environment that fosters new ideas Partner with organizations that have existing relationships and/or are led by young people Provide training to prepare young people to answer questions about COVID-19 and vaccines Compensate young people for their work
Youth leadership in action: In Fresno, a first-of-its kind program is training high school students to be junior community health workers or “promoteritas.” Most participants are youth of color and from impacted Latinx communities. The program is a collaboration from TTH grantee Cultiva La Salud, Immigrant Refugee Coalition, the Fresno COVID-19 Equity Project & other partners.
“It’s been a fantastic experience to have the influence of the ‘promoteritas’ guide our work. They have that special insight and expertise about how to best serve their population.” - Genoveva Islas, Executive Director of Cultiva La Salud
Youth leadership in action: Students receive 40 hrs of training to learn about vaccines, health orders and safety guidelines, and how to connect people to childcare, health, food and educational resources. Next, youth are assigned to a partner community-based organization and serve as paid interns.
Youth leadership in action: Youth attend events and conduct outreach to connect residents with info on vaccines, and other resources including food and rental assistance. They also harness social media platforms to encourage vaccinations among younger people.
Usually in my community... they don’t understand the language so it’s kind of difficult for them to access a vaccine site or even make an appointment... Informing people makes me feel good and like I’m helping people. It inspires me when some parents thank me for translating or interpreting and I think it’s the feeling of doing something right that keeps me going.” - Nereida Galvez Peñaloza, age 17, promoterita
Read the full article in the Fresno Bee
Find more vaccine equity tips on PHI's website

Strategy: Invest in youth leadership

Young people critical messengers in reaching their peers, family and entire communities with information about COVID-19 safety and vaccines. Find tips for how to engage with youth in your vaccine equity efforts and learn about the Promoteritos model, a first-of-its-kind program in Fresno, CA that trains high school students to be junior community health workers to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Explore the slides (above), read the full thread, and learn more in “Meet the Fresno teens who are fighting COVID misinformation in the Latino community.”

Strategy: Share a personal story of overcoming a vaccine barrier

As the Delta variant surges, it’s more critical than ever to communicate about vaccines in ways that foster trust. We not only need to give people access to vaccines in places they trust, but we also need to deliver accurate information through trusted messengers. Sharing personal stories about how and why you made the decision to get vaccinated can help to connect with people and move them from vaccine hesitancy to vaccine confidence.

Watch the video (below), read the thread and watch the full Communicating About Vaccines video series from PHI’s Berkeley Media Studies Group.


Strategy: Provide onsite ASL interpreters and ensure easy access to interpreting app devices

Some people who go to vaccination centers need American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters to communicate. Vance Taylor, Chief of the Office of Access and Functional Needs at CAL OES, shares tips for how to create a more accessible vaccination site by providing onsite ASL interpreters and ensuring easy access to remote interpreting apps as a back-up option.

Read and share our full Twitter thread, or watch the full webinar recording from PHI’s Pacific ADA Center: Disability Inclusion and Considerations in Vaccination Centers and Operations

Strategy: Integrate a trauma informed approach into COVID-19 vaccine equity efforts

What does it mean to integrate trauma informed care into your COVID-19 response? See on-the-ground examples of how Together Toward Health grantee, the San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition, uses a trauma informed approach to connect immigrant and refugee communities with vaccines and resources—rooted in understanding, care, mutuality and empathy.

Explore the slides (below), read our full Twitter thread and the op-ed, “To vaccinate refugees, shame won’t work. Engagement that considers trauma will,” and learn more about Together Toward Health.


Strategy: Integrate a Trauma Informed approach into COVID-19Vaccine Equity Efforts
What is a trauma-informed approach?Meeting people where they are in their questions and fears Respecting the well-founded reasons for mistrust Incorporating linguistic and cultural competency
Trauma-informed practices include: Following community leadership by partnering with organizations & leaders Using peer navigators & CHWs Providing information regarding which vaccine is being administered Creating private vaccination spaces Addressing non-COVID-19 basic needs Establishing a safe environment
Trauma informed approaches in action TTH grantee San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition hosts vaccination events for refugee and immigrant communities Their entire peer-based workforce is bilingual, collectively covering 26 languages and dialects, and all are members of the communities they serve.
Trauma informed approaches in action In July, more than 100 members of San Diego's Haitian community came to a vaccination event at the Haitian Methodist Ministry. Haitian Kreyol-speaking community support navigators were on-site to provide information about resources and programs, answer questions and dispel vaccination-related myths.
Trauma informed approach in action The San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition also hosted vaccination sites with bundled services and resources, for Afghan, Iraq, Syrian, Sudanese and Somali Bantu communities.
See the full opinion piece from the San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition: "To vaccinate refugees, shame won't work. Engagement that considers trauma will"
Find more resources and best practices for bringing down barriers to vaccine equity at

Strategy: Create and distribute materials in primary languages

Limited or lack of access to culturally-resonate, primary language information about COVID-19 and vaccines is a major barrier for communities. To help guide your efforts, see five key learnings and examples from our Together Toward Health initiative, which supports 400+ community-based organizations across California who serve as trusted experts for COVID-19 education, testing and vaccine access in their communities.

Explore the slides (below), read our full Twitter thread and learn more about Together Toward Health.

PHI's Vaccine Equity Strategy Series: Creating & distributing materials in primary languages
Strategy: Use primary language materials at every step: Unidad Popular Benito Juarez uses Spanish materials and signs to share COVID-19 resources with their communities, including information on how to get vaccinated.
Strategy: Partner with local artists. Jakara Movement collaborated with local artists to create materials for Punjabi speakers in Stanislaus County, including this mailer titled 'faces together,' by Turlock-based artist Parm Singh.
Strategy: Lift up authentic voices. In this video from the Desert Healthcare District & Foundation, community member Conchita Pozar shares her experience getting a COVID-19 vaccine, in the Purépecha language.
Strategy: Speak to community values. The Southern California Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response Team created graphics in Tongan, Chamoru, Fijian, Marshallese and Samoan to encourage vaccines by connecting to values like taking care of each other and being able to safely gather in houses of worship.
Strategy: Create innovative, culturally relevant materials El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center created Spanish language songs, comics, toolkits and more, for Community Health Workers to use in their vaccine equity outreach efforts.
Find more resources and best practices for bringing down barriers to vaccine equity at

Strategy: Create gender-affirming spaces for transgender, gender nonconforming & gender nonbinary people

Many LGBTQ people—particularly transgender, gender nonconforming and gender nonbinary people of color—are faced with barriers in access and trust, tied to a history of discrimination within the medical system and a lack of safe, affirming spaces to receive necessary, quality medical care. See guidance on how to create gender-affirming spaces and processes in your vaccine equity efforts.

Read and share our full Twitter thread, or watch the full video from PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California: Creating Safe and Affirming Spaces for Vaccine Distribution.

Strategy: Use a ‘truth sandwich’ to answer questions about breakthrough infections

See insights from our Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) on how to talk about breakthrough infections without undermining critical health and safety messages, by using a ‘truth sandwich’ to answer questions about breakthrough infections.

Explore the slides (below), read our thread on Twitter and see BMSG’s full messaging guidelines.

Strategy: Use a 'truth sandwich' to talk about breakthrough infections
Using a truth sandwich: Start with your core message to emphasize values & name solutions. Add a high-level talking point about breakthrough infections. Avoid repeating false claims. Return back to your core message.
3. Return back to your core message: We know these are challenging times, and we all hoped we would not be seeing the rise in cases. The vast majority of cases are in unvaccinated people, so we want to reach people who need vaccines, answer their questions, and get everyone vaccinated who wants one. In our county, we take care of one another by wearing masks indoors and [add your county’s specific recommendations if they include other protections].
See the full resource from PHI's BMSG: Talking about COVID Breakthrough Infections: Recommendations for Public Health Practitioners

Strategy: Schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for the non-tech savvy

The actual online process of signing up to receive a vaccine can be a major barrier for some folks—especially people who are unfamiliar with navigating online registration forms & processes, or don’t have reliable internet access. Older folks are often less tech savvy and are more likely to not have a home computer or internet access, especially in low income communities, rural communities & communities of color.

Read the full thread and watch the full Dialogue4Health Web Forum.

Strategy: Bring vaccine clinics directly to workplaces

A big barrier for many people is a lack of transportation to vaccine sites, and the inability to take time off work without losing income. If a site is far away and folks don’t have reliable transportation, it can take hours to simply get to an appointment & back again. This is especially true in rural places, for people who don’t have cars and rely on public transportation, and for communities with limited access to health care services & resources, including farmworkers.

Read the Twitter thread and watch the full video from PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California: Multi-Sector, Community-Based Partnerships to Reach Farmworkers.

Person receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Tune in for #VaxEquityThurs for the latest tips in our Vaccine Equity Strategy Series

Join PHI on Twitter each Thursday at 10am PT / 1pm ET to find more ideas, examples and insights on how to increase access to vaccines. Join the conversation to find resources, share your ideas and let us know what's working on the ground in your community's efforts.

Follow along at #VaxEquityThurs, connect with us at @PHIdotorg, and tweet us or send a direct message with your questions and ideas for future topics.

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