How to Increase Vaccine Confidence

October 15, 2021

Since March 2020, all of us have worked to protect our communities against COVID-19. This year, that effort has been focused on getting people vaccinated because it is one of the best tools we have to protect communities against COVID-19. As of October 15, 2021, 78.6% of the adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (with 68.1% of adults being fully vaccinated). However, millions of Americans who are eligible for vaccination have not yet received a vaccine despite high availability. This highlights a gap in demand and underscores the need for community-based strategies that encourage vaccination in areas with low uptake.

To address this need, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with leading health behavior scientists and health communication specialists, created the COVID-19 Vaccination Field Guide: 12 Strategies for Your Community (Field Guide). Local leaders, health departments, community- and faith-based organizations, non-profits, schools, and businesses can use the Field Guide to identify, plan, and carry out effective strategies to help increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake in their communities.

The Field Guide offers 12 strategies that help you address vaccine hesitancy and encourage more people to get vaccinated. It also provides real-world examples that illustrate how communities have used these strategies. Further, it includes tools that can help identify your city, town, or village’s unique needs by understanding common structural, informational, and behavioral barriers and enablers to getting vaccinated.

There is no single, simple solution to the complicated task of increasing COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake. However, local leaders can try a combination of the 12 strategies based on their community’s needs. We encourage you to:

  • Share the Field Guide with your network: This might include asking your staff to highlight the Field Guide in your next newsletter, post it on social media channels or your government website, and distribute the link via listservs. You might also consider sharing it at your next community meeting.
  • Collaborate with community partners and leaders: Engage community partners and leaders to serve as COVID-19 vaccine ambassadors to share information, answer questions, and encourage vaccination in their communities. The Field Guide demonstrates ways that government and community partners have trained trusted messengers to be vaccine ambassadors, helping to overcome equity and hesitancy barriers in under-resourced communities of color.
  • Continue to address misinformation: Work with your staff to provide accurate and timely information about the safety and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure community members make informed vaccination decisions. The Field Guide outlines ways to combat misinformation by utilizing trusted messengers and other effective messaging tools.

For additional COVID-19 vaccine confidence resources, please see the links below. Local leaders may email ConfidenceConsults@cdc.gov to request technical assistance related to vaccine confidence strategies. Thank you for your continued efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. Your partnership is vital to protecting the health and wellbeing of our communities. 

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About the Author:

James T. Lee, MD, MSc, COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence and Demand Team Co-Lead, CDC.

About the Authors