Raising COVID-19 vaccine confidence in those impacted by Substance Use Disorder

“I’m not worried about COVID. Most people just get the sniffles.”

“I’m not getting vaccinated, it hasn’t been around long enough to be sure that it’s safe.”

“I want to get vaccinated, but I’m not sure if I’m eligible or if my insurance will cover it.”

Each day, we come across someone who has feelings like the ones above. But, when research is showing that people with substance use disorder are at an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 – vaccination is key.

“I am going to, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”

IMPACT WV is working to increase vaccine confidence among those with substance use disorder by delivering targeted outreach messages based on how a person is feeling and gauging their readiness to act on a new healthier behavior. The Stages of Change model helps discover where someone is in the cycle allowing you to provide educational materials to address that stage and hopefully move them on to the next.

The IMPACT WV project implemented the Stages of Change Assessment as a set of questions used to access where a person is in terms of receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine.  Messages and resources were used to address each stage to increase confidence in the vaccine.

StageMessaging shared
Stage 1 –
Not considering the vaccine.
Substance Use Disorder puts you at a greater risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19. THINK about it. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/resources/covid-drugs-QA.html#safer-use
Stage 2 – Knowledge of the vaccine but has not been vaccinated due to barriers.Are you aware of the COVID-19 vaccine benefits, but unable to get it due to barriers? Call the WV Vaccine Info Line at 1-833-734-0965 or visit www.vaccinate.wv.gov
Stage 3 – Preparation – Intends to take the vaccine, but has not yet.If you have a substance use disorder and want to get vaccinated against COVID-19, now’s the time to do it! Learn the benefits at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html
Stage 4 – Action – Wants to take the vaccine.If you have a Substance Use Disorder and are READY to take the COVID-19 Vaccine, find a free vaccine at www.vaccines.gov

Participants in the campaign were then asked to share their Success Stories!

IMPACT Patient Navigators had conversations with families regarding testing, overall vaccine information, vaccine location, and pregnant and lactating vaccine information. 

Campaign successes:

  • Our educational resources including billboards, Facebook posts, posters, flyers, and postcards reached thousands of residents across the state of WV. 
  • A local Substance Use Treatment Facility is now interested in partnering with IMPACT to host a Vaccine Clinic that currently serves 400 clients!
  • A long-term client felt comfortable enough with the program staff to reach out and then, after receiving vaccine resources, made the decision to get vaccinated to protect herself and her infant from COVID-19. 
  • Additional partnerships were developed nationally, sitewide, and locally through the increasing vaccine confidence Lunch and Learn and educational material mailing.  

For additional resources including a downloadable communications toolkit or to share your vaccine success story with IMPACT WV, visit www.wvimpact.org/covid