Emphasizing Equity in COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

Made to Save is a national grassroots outreach and mobilization campaign that focuses on increasing equity in vaccine outreach and access for communities of color that have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  We believe that, if done right, vaccine requirements can be a helpful tool to increase both vaccination rates and equity. Our guide on how to approach vaccine requirements to increase equity, trust, and vaccination rates starts with three key principles:

  • Health and safety of individuals and communities must be the clear priority in planning and communication. Vaccines are just one part of a comprehensive plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Lived experiences of those who are affected, including experiences of racial inequity, are important factors in how likely people are to trust a vaccine and the healthcare system.
  • Information and access are both vital components of successful efforts to equitably increase vaccination rates.

Here are some ways to focus on equity: 

  • Include people who are most affected in planning and implementation to ensure that you are meeting the community’s needs. Listen and understand people’s concerns, questions, and barriers. This is especially important if leadership and the community have different backgrounds.
  • Help people get accurate answers to their vaccine questions from sources they trust in words they understand, including in-language resources. 
  • Recruit trusted messengers within and outside of your organization to help build confidence in vaccines.  Peer-to-peer outreach and town halls with health professionals and community leaders are two important tactics. 
  • Address logistical and financial barriers.  Give shots on site, provide paid time off for shots and side effects, offer small incentives to offset costs (like transportation or childcare). When possible, offer shots during late shifts or at flexible times.  Make sure people understand the shots are free and available to anyone, even if they have no insurance or immigration papers. Consider challenges or barriers people with disabilities may face and provide access and other accommodations.
  • Consider exemptions and incentives that balance safety and equity.  Take current vaccination rates into account, determine the risk of having unvaccinated individuals in the community, and assess how likely the community is to get vaccinated if there is a requirement. The stricter the mandate, the more important the strategies above will be.  

The Health Action Alliance has put together a number of resources to help employers and small businesses to develop COVID-19 engagement plans. We highly recommend utilizing their interactive tools to best serve your employees and communities. 

Campus COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative Logo

The American College Health Association has put together a number of tools through their CoVAC Campus COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative to support effective, equitable, and inclusive COVID-19 vaccination strategies to yield high vaccination uptake in students, staff, and faculty.

Understanding Equity

Materials to Inform Your Community about the COVID-19 Vaccines

More Resources for Considering Requirements