HUD Vaccine Messaging Toolkit
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of over 600,000 Americans. To reduce the number of new COVID-19 infections and end this pandemic, the Federal Government has worked to provide access to the COVID-19 vaccine for all individuals. Homeless service providers and those experiencing homelessness were among populations prioritized for vaccines as these groups are at increased risk of infection, virus transmission, and severe illness. Vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue for many Americans, including people experiencing homelessness. To address hesitancy and build vaccine confidence among people experiencing homelessness, the HUD commissioned the development of a Vaccine Messaging Toolkit.
In March 2021, HUD's Vaccine Technical Assistance (TA) team met with four large groups of individuals experiencing homelessness to gather thoughts and opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Each group was convened in a different city. Community engagement meetings conducted in each city sought input from individuals experiencing homelessness about vaccine safety and efficacy, mistrust and uncertainty, and how to build vaccine confidence. The learnings gathered from these meetings informed the development of this toolkit.
One of the major takeaways from the community engagement meetings was the understanding that vaccine hesitancy does not equate to vaccine refusal. Many individuals who expressed vaccine hesitancy during the community engagement meetings referenced above were already vaccinated or planning to get vaccinated. There is no "right way" to address hesitancy and build vaccine confidence among people experiencing homelessness and the frontline staff who serve them. Communities should consider a multi-pronged approach that includes:
- Using local experts, vaccine ambassadors, and healthcare partners as trusted sources
- Providing easy and frequent access to vaccination events
- Taking time to address questions and concerns to build confidence
Visit the Disease Risks and Homelessness page on the HUD Exchange for a full list of resources related to COVID-19 infectious disease prevention and response for homeless providers.
The contents of these materials, except when based on statutory or regulatory authority or law, do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These materials are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.
This toolkit includes the following resources:
- COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A with Dr. Sapna Bamrah Morris: Dr. Morris from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) answers frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. This short video can be included in your trainings for staff or shared directly with people experiencing homelessness.
- How to Build Staff's Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines: This document defines vaccine confidence and outlines six steps to help build vaccine confidence within your organization.
- Front Line Workers: Talking with Participants about the Vaccine (Editable): This flyer targets staff who may be hesitant about the vaccine. It provides information about what to do when an individual experiencing homelessness asks for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and includes a section that can be customized to include details about upcoming educational sessions or contact information for local experts or healthcare professionals who can answer COVID-19 vaccine questions.
- People Experiencing Homelessness: Three Reasons Why You Were Given Top Priority to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 (Editable): This flyer has been updated to include a section that can be customized to include details about upcoming vaccination events or who to contact to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines.