COVID-19 Vaccine - Equity and Engagement

The Washington State Department of Health recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone but has not impacted everyone equally. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on existing health inequities, amplified them, and revealed their root causes.

Below are resources for communities that may be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and strategies for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Community Resources

Agricultural Workers

Vaccination planning

Education, communication, and outreach resources

American Indian/Alaska Native Communities

Education, communication, and outreach resources

Asian American

COVID-19 impact and considerations

Education, communication, and outreach resources

Black/African American Community
Faith Based Communities

Education, communication, and outreach resources

Immigrant & Refugee Communities

Education, communication, and outreach resources

Latinx Community

Education, communication, and outreach resources

LGBTQ Community

COVID-19 impact and considerations

Vaccination planning

Education, communication, and outreach resources

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Communities

Education, communication, and outreach resources

People who are in jails, prisons or detention centers

Education, communication, and outreach resources

People with Disabilities

Vaccination planning

Education, communication, and outreach resources

People with Limited English Proficiency

Education, communication, and outreach resources

Slavic/Former Soviet Union Communities
Unhoused People

Vaccination planning

Unhoused youth

Additional Resources

For Employers

General

Strategies for Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

We have adopted eight strategies for equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, details are below.

1. Engage communities to inform vaccine prioritization and planning

We are committed to getting feedback from communities, partners, organizations, businesses, and governmental entities throughout all stages of vaccine planning and implementation.

During the fall of 2020, DOH led a comprehensive engagement effort to get feedback from disproportionately impacted communities, partners, and sectors about how we should prioritize and allocate the COVID-19 vaccine. We conducted 90 interviews, focus groups, and community conversations with 568 individuals and surveyed about 18,000 people in multiple languages. Read the full report to learn more.

These engagement efforts directly informed our interim vaccine allocation and prioritization guidance. Some specific examples of how we integrated community input into vaccine prioritization:

  • Phase 1a: Community recommended to expand the definition of workers in health care settings to be more inclusive of workers who may be outside traditionally narrow definitions. This resulted in the intentional inclusion community health workers, non-remote health care interpreters, doulas, birth workers, home care aids, and caregivers.
  • Phase 1b, Tier 1: One of the strongest themes during our community engagement efforts was the desire for all communities to protect their elders. Another strong theme was the need to prioritize older adults and elders who are cared for at home. These older adults are not protected through the long term care program in 1a, and can be at a unique risk if living in a household where someone has to work outside the home. We also know that the age for “older adult” or “elder” differs greatly by community, and an age cut-off of 65 years may not be inclusive. This resulted in the intentional and specific prioritization of adults 50 years+ in multi-generational homes.
  • Phase 1b, Tier 2: Another strong theme throughout our engagement efforts was the need to prioritize our essential workers who are at the highest risk for COVID-19 exposure, especially those who have little control over their work environment, are unable to work remotely, and their specific job functions make it difficult to observe protective measures like adequate physical distancing. Almost all of the occupations listed in Tier 2 are a direct result of community input.
  • Phase 1b, Tier 3: There are many different underlying health conditions that can put someone at increased risk for COVID-19 and research is continuing to evolve as we learn more. To err on the side on inclusivity, we intentionally included both the list of conditions that do increase risk for severe illness as well as those conditions that may increase risk for severe illness for Tier 3 eligibility.
  • Phase 1b, Tier 4: We heard very strongly the need to increase prioritization for people who live, work, volunteer, or reside in congregate settings where they have very little control over their environment, especially those in the settings that have been hit unfortunately hard with COVID-19 outbreaks. This resulted in the intentional and increased prioritization of people in various shelter settings (homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters), disability group homes, and correctional facilities.
2. Integrate a pro-equity approach into vaccine allocation and distribution

We are continuing to integrate a pro-equity approach into vaccine allocation and distribution. This includes looking at all the different ways vaccine is distributed, including via health care systems, pharmacies, state run mass vaccination sites, community pop-up clinics, mobile clinics, local mass vaccination sites, and employer based vaccination sites. For each of these, there are opportunities to support equitable vaccine access by:

3. Prioritize allocation and support to providers who effectively serve disproportionately impacted communities

Providers who are best positioned to serve communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 include:

If you are a health care provider who serves communities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and you are interested in enrolling to offer the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Program Enrollment page or contact covid.vaccine@doh.wa.gov for technical assistance.

4. Invest in trusted community leaders, messengers and organizations

The Washington State Department of Health has an obligation to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine. We recognize that community-rooted and community-led organizations and groups are better positioned and equipped to listen, understand, and respond to the needs of their community members in the most culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate way. They are also better equipped to use a trauma-informed lens or approach to their interventions so as to not perpetuate further harm, fear, and distrust that may be exacerbated by governmental entities in times of extreme crisis, like a pandemic.

In 2020, DOH and Desautel Hege launched a new community-based outreach approach to working with community media and organizations to address inequities around COVID-19. Through this program, DOH funds community media and organizations to develop communications and perform outreach to historically excluded and underrepresented audiences. The goal is to ensure priority communities receive culturally appropriate and accessible information about COVID-19 vaccines, prevention, and safe re-opening.

Based on population health data, risk and vaccination, priority communities are identified where additional mile-deep communications can help improve health outcomes. Mile deep (as opposed to mile-wide) communications are defined as activities that go beyond traditional advertising and public education to connect deeply with a community through trusted message carriers, culturally informed communications and outreach in a way that considers access, social determinants of health, systemic racism, and historical trauma.”

Community Driven Messaging Contracts

Since the fall of 2020, we have partnered with DH to support direct investments in community/ethnic media outlets and community based organizations for community-driven messaging efforts.

Community/ethnic Media Outlets Community Based Organizations
  • Actitud Latina
  • Alzagil Media (Muslim Ethnic Media News)
  • Chinese Radio Seattle on KKNW 1150 AM Alternative Talk
  • Crossings TV
  • Dreamdriver Works Seattle and Korean Community Service Center
  • Hawaii Radio Connection 1540 KXPA
  • It's Not Evening Yet on KKNW 1150 AM Alternative Talk (S Media; Stella Media)
  • Joy Seattle
  • Kanon Magazine
  • KBMS/Z TWINS
  • KDNA FM 91.9
  • KNTS 1680 AM - Radio Luz
  • La Voz Hispanic Newspaper (Ads)
  • Latino Northwest Communications
  • Malcontent News
  • NA Post, Soy Source (North American Post Publishing Inc.)
  • Người Việt Ngày Nay / Vietnamese Today Weekly News /
  • Northwest Asian Weekly and Seattle Chinese Post
  • Radio Continent on KXPA 1540 AM (Radio Continent)
  • Rainier Valley Radio KVRU 105.7 FM
  • Runta News (The Truth)
  • Russian Spokane / russianspokane.com
  • Salaxley TV
  • Salon Ethiopia
  • Seattle Chinese Times
  • Seattle Gay News
  • Slavic Family Media / Afisha Media
  • Tasveer
  • Telemundo- Yakima
  • The Black Lens
  • The Facts
  • The Fig Tree
  • Titre Avval
  • Tu Decides/You Decide
  • VT Radio Universal
  • Act Theatre
  • AHANA
  • Alefba Group
  • Alliance of People with disAbilities
  • Arc of Grays Harbor
  • Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC)
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition - South Puget Sound Chapter
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Spokane (APIC Spokane) / Asian Counseling and Referral
  • Service (ARCS)
  • Bridging Cultural Gaps
  • Catholic Community Services WW
  • Director Farmworker Initiative WW
  • Center for Independence (CFI)
  • Central Washington Disability Resources (CWDR)
  • Centro De Servicios Comunitarios (CSC)
  • Cham Refugees Community
  • Clallam Mosaic
  • Clark County Latino Youth Conference
  • Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees (501c3)
  • Downtown Pasco Development Authority
  • El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races)
  • Eritrean Debes
  • Eritrean Health Board (EHB)
  • Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS)
  • Faith Action Network
  • Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS)
  • FMS Global Strategies
  • Foundation for Multicultural Solutions serving the Hispanic Community and the RISE Center
  • Gambian Talents Promotion
  • Heartspark Press & TRACTION (TRans Community ACTION)
  • Hmong Association of Washington
  • India America Community Services / India Association of Western Washington
  • Iraqi/Arab Health Board (IAHB)
  • Ireta P'urhepecha
  • Islamic Center of Washington (ICW) / Idris Mosque
  • KD Hall Foundation
  • Kin On Health Care Center
  • King County Equity Now
  • Latino Educational Training Institute (LETI)
  • Latinos en Spokane
  • Latinx Unidos del South Sound (LUSS) / Pierce County AIDS Foundation
  • Lived Experience Coalition (LEC)
  • Lutheran Community Services Northwest - Tacoma/Puget Sound
  • Mohammed Akmoosh
  • Muslim Community and Neighborhood Association (MCNA)
  • NAACP Bremerton
  • Neighborhood House
  • Nepal Seattle Society
  • North Counties' Family Services
  • Northwest Disability Support / Northwest Down Syndrome Association
  • Orquesta Northwest
  • Out Spokane/Spokane Pride
  • Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington (PICA-WA)
  • Para Los Ninos (PLN)
  • POCAAN
  • Power 2 The Poetry
  • Raiz of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho
  • Refugee & Immigrant Services Northwest
  • Seattle Pride
  • Snohomish Health District Child Care Health Outreach Program
  • Somali Community Services of Seattle
  • Somali Health Board
  • Spokane Hispanic Business Professional Association and Foundation (Spokane HBPA)
  • Tacoma Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Tesfa Program
  • The Arc of King County
  • The Arc of Washington State
  • The Christ Spirit Church
  • The Power Of Two
  • The Way to Justice
  • Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Ukrainian Community Center of Washington / Oleg Pynda
  • Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
  • UTOPIA Washington
  • UTSAV USA
  • UW Accessible Design and Innovative Inclusion (ADII) and CCER: Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation
  • Vietnamese Health Board
  • Walker Chapel A.M.E. Church
  • Washington Advocates of Deaf & Hard of Hearing (formerly Tilikum)
  • Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy
  • Waterversity
  • West African Community Council
  • Western Washington National Association of Hispanic Nurses (WW-NAHN)
  • White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA)
  • World Relief Seattle
  • World Relief Spokane
  • WOW Tri-Cities
  • Yakima Children's Village
  • Yakima Neighborhood Health Services (YNHS)

Community Outreach Services Contracts

Winter Partners (January 2021-March 2021)

Between January and April of 2021, the project contracted with 48 partners – 27 paid media vendors and 21 community-based organizations.

  • AHANA
  • Alliance for People with disAbilities
  • Arc of King County
  • Arc of Washington State
  • The Black Lens/Square Peg Media
  • Clark County Latino Youth Conference
  • Center for Independence
  • Central Washington Disability Resources
  • Chinese Radio Seattle
  • Clallam Mosaic
  • Continent Media/Radio Continent
  • Crossings TV
  • Dreamdriver Works/Korean Community Service Center
  • Gay City
  • Gender Justice League
  • Hawaii Radio Connection
  • Hispanic Business Professional Association of Spokane
  • Hmong Association of Washington
  • Islamic Center of Tri-Cities​
  • Jungle City
  • KDNA
  • KNTS/Inspiration Media
  • KUNS
  • KXPA
  • La Nueva
  • La Voz
  • La Pera
  • Latino Northwest Communications
  • NAACP Vancouver
  • Người Việt Ngày Nay/Vietnamese Today Weekly News
  • Persian Media/Titre Avval
  • Pacific Islanders Community Association of Washington (PICAWA)
  • Radio El Rey
  • Rainier Avenue Radio
  • Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest
  • Runta
  • Salaxley TV
  • Salon Ethiopia
  • Somali Community Services of Seattle
  • Seattle Chinese Radio
  • Seattle Medium
  • S Media/It's Not Evening Yet
  • The Skanner
  • The Facts
  • Traction/Heartspark Press
  • Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • U.T.O.P.I.A.
  • Washington State School for the Blind

Spring Partners (April 2021-June 2021)

In March 2021 the project conducted a second round of outreach to additional partners to expand the project's reach to more communities to support vaccination and prevention messaging. The second phase of implementation has expanded to 122 partners – 34 paid media vendors and 88 community-based organizations.

  • AHANA
  • Alefba Group (and Radio Iranshahr)
  • Alliance of People with disAbilities
  • Alzagil Media
  • Arc of Grays Harbor
  • The Arc of King County
  • The Arc of Washington State
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Services
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition - South Puget Sound Chapter
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Spokane (APIC Spokane)
  • Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC)
  • Black Lens
  • Bridging Cultural Gaps
  • Center for Independence
  • Central Washington Disability Resources (CWDR)
  • Centro De Servicios Comunitarios (CSC)
  • Cham Refugees Community
  • Chinese Radio Seattle
  • The Christ Spirit Church
  • Clallam Mosaic
  • Clark County Latino Youth Conference
  • Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees
  • Crossings TV
  • Director Farmworker Initiative WW/Catholic Community Services WW
  • Downtown Pasco Development Authority
  • Dreamdriver Works Seattle
  • El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races)
  • Eritrean Debes
  • Eritrean Health Board (EHB)
  • Ethiopian Community in Seattle
  • The Facts
  • Faith Action Network
  • The Fig Tree
  • Filipino Community of Seattle
  • FMS Global Strategies
  • Foundation for Multicultural Solutions serving the Hispanic Community and the RISE Center
  • Gambian Talents Promotion
  • Hawaii Radio Connection 1540 KXPA
  • Heartspark Press & TRACTION (TRans Community ACTION)
  • Hispanic Business/Professional Association of Spokane (HBPA Spokane)
  • Hmong Association of Washington
  • Indian Association of Western Washington
  • Iraqi/Arab Health Board
  • Ireta Purepecha
  • Islamic Center of Washington (ICW)/Idris Mosque
  • It's Not Evening Yet on KKNW 1150 AM
  • Joy Seattle
  • Kanon Magazine
  • KD Hall Foundation
  • KDNA
  • Kin On Health Care Center
  • King County Equity Now
  • KNTS
  • La Voz
  • Latino Educational Training Institute (LETI)
  • Latinos en Spokane
  • Latinx Unidos del South Sound (LUSS) / Latinx community
  • Lived Experience Coalition
  • Lutheran Community Services Northwest - Tacoma/Puget Sound
  • Mohammed Akmoosh (individual)
  • Muslim Community and Neighborhood Association
  • NA Post, Soy Source (North American Post Publishing Inc.)
  • NAACP Bremerton
  • Neighborhood House
  • Nepal Seattle Society
  • Người Việt Ngày Nay / Vietnamese Today Weekly News
  • North Countries' Family Services
  • Northwest Asian Weekly and Seattle Chinese Post
  • Northwest Disability Support/Northwest Down Syndrome Association
  • Oleg Pynda
  • Orquesta Northwest
  • Out Spokane/Spokane Pride
  • Oye Producciones/ Actitud Latina
  • Pacific Islanders Community Association of Washington (PICAWA)
  • Para Los Ninos (PLN)
  • People of Color Against AIDS Network (POCAAN)
  • Pierce County AIDS Foundation
  • Power 2 The Poetry
  • Power of Two
  • Radio Continent on KXPA 1540 AM (Radio Continent)
  • Raiz of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho
  • Refugee Connections Spokane
  • Refugee & Immigrant Services Northwest
  • Runta News
  • Russian Spokane / russianspokane.com (Andrey Grebenshchikov)
  • Salaxley TV
  • Salon Ethiopia
  • Seattle Chinese Times
  • Seattle Gay News
  • Seattle Pride
  • Slavic Family Media / Afisha Media
  • Snohomish Health District Child Care Health Outreach Program
  • Somali Health Board
  • Somali Community Services of Seattle
  • South King County Discipline Coalition
  • Tacoma Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Tasveer
  • Telemundo
  • Tesfa Program
  • Titre Avval
  • Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Tu Decides
  • Ukrainian Community Center of Washington
  • Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
  • U.T.O.P.I.A. (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance)
  • UTSAV USA
  • UW Accessible Design and Innovative Inclusion and CCER: Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation
  • Vietnamese Health Board
  • VT Radio Universal
  • Walker Chapel A.M.E. Church
  • Washington Advocates of Deaf & Hard of Hearing (formerly Tilikum)
  • Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy
  • Waterversity
  • The Way to Justice
  • West African Community Council
  • Western Washington National Association of Hispanic Nurses
  • White Center Community Development Association (WCCDA)
  • World Relief Seattle
  • World Relief Spokane
  • WOW Tri-Cities
  • Yakima Children's Village
  • Yakima Neighborhood Health Services
  • Z Twins Radio

Summer and Fall Partners (August 2021 – December 2021)

In March 2021, the project conducted a third round of outreach to additional partners to expand the project's reach to support vaccination and COVID-19 prevention messaging. The third phase has expanded to 134 partners.

  • Afghan American Community of Washington (AACW)
  • Afghan American Cultural Association (AACA)
  • Afghan Health Initiative
  • Afisha Russian Advertising
  • Agency/Slavic Family Media
  • African American Reach & Teach Health (AARTH)
  • African Leaders Health Board
  • AHANA
  • Alefba Group
  • Alzagil Media
  • American Indian Community Center
  • American Indian Health Commission
  • The Arc of Grays Harbor
  • The Arc of King County
  • The Arc of Washington State
  • Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC)
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition - South Puget Sound Chapter
  • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Spokane (APIC Spokane)
  • Black Arts Love
  • Bothell Hindu Temple
  • Boys and Girls Club of Skagit County
  • Building Changes
  • Cascade AIDS Project (CAPNW)
  • Center for Independence (CFI)
  • Center for Multicultural Health (CMCH)
  • Centro De Servicios Comunitarios (CSC)
  • Chief Seattle Club
  • CID Mutual Aid
  • CIELO Projects/RADIO RANCH
  • Clallam Mosaic
  • Coffee Oasis
  • The Community for the Advancement of Family Education; Community Services Coalition Network, Wenatchee Cafe
  • Communities of Rooted Brilliance
  • Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees
  • Crossings TV
  • Downtown Pasco Development Authority
  • Dreamdriver Works Seattle
  • Dunia Clinic
  • El Siete Dias Newspaper
  • Entre Hermanos
  • Equity Institute
  • Eritrean Debes
  • Eritrean Health Board (EHB)
  • Ethiopian Community in Seattle
  • Familias Unidas por la justicia
  • Filipino Community of Seattle
  • Gambian Talents Promotion
  • The Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center
  • Heartspark Press & TRACTION (TRans Community ACTION)
  • Hispanic Business/Professional Association of Spokane (HBPA Spokane)
  • Hmong Association of Washington
  • India Association of Western Washington
  • Institute for Washingtons Future
  • (Community 2 Community)
  • Integrated Wellness (Integrity Nurse
  • Consultants)
  • Iraqi/Arab Health Board
  • IRCO - Slavic and Eastern European Center (SEEC)
  • The Islamic Center of Washington
  • It’s Not Evening Yet on KKNW 1150AM
  • JLT Enterprises and Pacific Mien Language Services
  • Joy Seattle
  • KD Hall Foundation
  • Khmer Community Seattle King County
  • Khmer Health Board
  • KNTS
  • Kris Bennett Broadcasting, Inc.,
  • KYIZ/KRIZ/KBMS, KBMS/Z TWINS
  • KVRU 105.7 FM
  • La Voz
  • Lao Community Service Center
  • Latino Northwest Communications
  • Latinos en Spokane
  • Lived Experience Coalition
  • Lutheran Community Services Northwest - Tacoma/Puget Sound
  • MAPS-MCRC-Community Health Clinic
  • The Maternal Coalition
  • Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle (MAS)
  • Muslim Community and Neighborhood Association (MCNA)
  • NA Post, Soy Source (North American Post Publishing Inc.)
  • National Urban Indian Family Coalition
  • Native Action Network
  • NATIVE Project
  • Người Việt Ngày Nay / Vietnamese Today Weekly News
  • North Countries’ Family Services
  • Northwest Asian Weekly and Seattle Chinese Post
  • Northwest Disability Support/Northwest Down Syndrome Association
  • Northwest Justice Project
  • Open Doors for Multicultural Families
  • Orquesta Northwest
  • Our Valley Our Future/Nuestro Valle Nuestro Futuro
  • Pacific County Immigrant Support (PCIS)
  • Pacific Islanders Community Association of Washington (PICAWA)
  • Pacific Islander Health Board
  • Pierce County AIDS Foundation
  • POCAAN
  • Power of Two
  • Radio Continent on KXPA 1540 AM (Radio Continent)
  • RAIN Incubator
  • Rainier Avenue Radio
  • REACH Tacoma (Tacoma Community House)
  • Refugee & Immigrant Services Northwest
  • Runta News
  • Russian Spokane
  • Salaxley TV
  • Seattle Chinese Times
  • Seattle Indian Health Board/Urban
  • Indian Health Institute
  • Somali Health Board
  • South Puget Intertribal Planning
  • Agency (SPIPA)
  • Spokane Tribal Network
  • Tacoma Ministerial Alliance
  • Tacoma Pierce County Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Tacoma Urban League /Leaders in Women's Health
  • Tahoma Indian Center
  • Tasveer
  • Telemundo Yakima
  • Tesfa Program
  • Thai Association of Washington
  • Titre Avval
  • Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • The Tubman Center for Health and Freedom
  • Tu Decides
  • UFW Foundation
  • United Indians of All Tribes
  • Foundation, Daybreak Star
  • Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
  • U.T.O.P.I.A. (United Territories of
  • Pacific Islanders Alliance)
  • UTSAV USA
  • Vietnam Health Clinic
  • Vietnamese Health Board
  • VT Radio Universal
  • Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy
  • Washington Hindu Education and Seva Foundation
  • Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network
  • Washington State Coalition of African Community Leaders
  • The Way to Justice
  • West African Community Council
  • World Relief Seattle
  • WOW Tri-Cities
  • Yakima Neighborhood Health Services

Additionally, Washington state has the All in Washington Vaccine Equity Initiative. This initiative supports equitable vaccine access by providing funds to trusted, community-based organizations that can provide linguistically and culturally-specific vaccine education and outreach. These organizations also address access, mobility and transportation barriers. Grant funds are flexible and distributed to organizations serving regions and communities with the highest need.

For a list of recently funded organizations, please visit Vaccine Equity Initiative Grants and Grantees – All In WA.

Since September 2020, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has partnered with Desautel Hege (DH) to support community-driven COVID-19 outreach & communications. This effort specifically focuses on connecting with priority communities who have been disproportionately impacted during this pandemic and experience access barriers to COVID-19 information and services. The COVID-19 Community Media Outreach Progress Report – Summary, May 21, 2021 (PDF) provides an overview of these efforts as well as insights for both the project and future public health communications efforts

5. Ensure all communications, education and outreach efforts are culturally and linguistically appropriate and accessible

“Information is one of the best tools we have in this fight against COVID-19,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “But not every community has equal access to information. This plan helps ensure every Washingtonian is better able to stay safe and healthy by making sure our state agencies are providing information that is culturally-relevant and accessible.”

In April 2020, the Washington State Department of Health Community Engagement Task Force worked with the Governor's Office to create a COVID-19 Response Language Access Plan. This created a foundation for language access that we continue to leverage for vaccine communications, education, and outreach efforts.

6. Strengthen the public health system's ability to center communities in vaccine outreach and access

The Washington State Department of Health is the lead entity for distribution and allocation of vaccines. We provide guidance to prioritize populations for vaccine. We also enroll providers as vaccinators and determine weekly allocation of doses among those providers in consultation with local public health agencies. We are committed to strengthening our own efforts as well as supporting local public health agency efforts in centering communities in vaccine outreach and access.

Overall considerations for vaccine outreach

  1. Put greater effort in reaching groups missed by traditional channels.
  2. Utilize trusted community messengers, leaders, and community media outlets.
  3. Ensure outreach is culturally & linguistically appropriate and accessible.
  4. Partner with community-rooted organizations and groups who serve BIPOC, immigrant, and refugee communities and communities disabilities.
  5. Learn about the fears, concerns, experiences, and history of the communities you are trying to reach.

Overall considerations for vaccine access

  1. Provide language access services and advertise them ahead of time.
  2. Ensure all vaccine sites are accessible to people with disabilities.
  3. Offer alternative clinic hours and days to accommodate different work schedules.
  4. Prioritize vaccination sites in areas with a COVID-19 Social Vulnerability Index of 7+.
  5. Create transportation partnerships to facilitate access for people with transportation barriers.

Community-specific tools and resources​

7. Foster opportunities for collaboration

To ensure equitable and accessible outreach, education, and implementation strategies, the Department of Health is building a COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Collaborative. The Collaborative launched in February 2021 but interested partners can join at any time. Collaborative members:

8. Support a trauma-informed approach to vaccine conversations

Our community engagement efforts have shown us how critical it is to lead vaccine conversations with cultural humility. For us, this means understanding that historical distrust, trauma, and broken relationships are a result of systemic inequities, racism, and medical harm many historically marginalized groups have experienced. We are developing and collecting anti-racism and trauma-informed tools, training, and resources for vaccine providers and partners. If you have resources to add and share with others, please email equity@doh.wa.gov.

Resources

The Department of Health developed a series of videos about using a trauma-informed approach when discussing the COVID-19 vaccine. The videos provide guidance and tools for health care providers and public health professionals to help increase their awareness of trauma in a practice setting, strategies for building trust, and the influence of historical and previous experience of trauma on vaccine hesitancy.

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