Best Practices for COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing: Environmental Scan Report
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
- Many barriers to COVID-19 vaccination and testing services are rooted in historical and ongoing structural racism, economic inequality, and the inequitable allocation of social and health care resources.
- To increase access to COVID-19 services, programs offered vaccination and testing in multiple venues, such as mass clinics or events, community clinics, health care settings, mobile clinics, and residential homes.
- Common delivery strategies used to increase awareness of, confidence in, and access to testing and vaccination included partnering with community-based organizations and trusted community leaders; employing multilingual staff; using culturally appropriate, translated messages; expanding hours and walk-up options; limiting identification/documentation requirements, when possible; communicating using multiple channels; and pairing testing and vaccination with other services, such as health care or food assistance.
This report summarizes findings from an environmental scan of COVID-19 testing and vaccination policies and programs serving people who are medically or socially at disproportionate risk for COVID-19 or related adverse outcomes. Scan sources included peer-reviewed and gray literature published since 2020 and key informant interviews focused on testing and vaccination programs at the local, state, and federal levels. Our findings suggest that many barriers to testing and vaccination services—and programs’ efforts to overcome them—are not unique to testing or vaccination, nor even to COVID-19. However, COVID-19 added complexity to existing barriers. Efforts to bring services closer to people were common across programs, as were partnership strategies and strategies for increasing trust. These findings will inform the design of other study components, including a national survey of local organizations that have implemented testing and vaccination programs and site visits to selected organizations. The study team will disseminate synthesized findings from all phases of the research to federal, state, tribal, and local practitioners and policymakers seeking to improve COVID-19 outcomes and prepare for future public health crises.