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World Immunization Week Provides an Opportunity to Think Globally and Act Locally

Apr 25, 2022 | Robin Mowson

As we celebrate World Immunization Week, taking place April 24-30st, 2022, we would like to reflect on the ways that our local health department members are situated on the global landscape. This week we are highlighting Refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) populations, which include people residing in the United States who were born in another country. There is significant diversity among the RIM populations in our local communities, who come from all over the world with different languages, experiences, and cultural practices and who have spent varied amounts of time in the United States and have different immigration statuses. RIM populations have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 morbidity and mortality due to a variety of factors. To ensure the success of both primary and secondary COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies and to address inequities experienced by RIM communities, LHDs need strong and sustained community partnerships, experienced human resources, cross-program infrastructure to support logistics for testing and vaccine delivery at scale, and planning, evaluation, and financial management capacity.

NACCHO, has partnered with the University of Minnesota’s National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in supporting selected LHDs and CBOs to rapidly scale up innovative COVID-19 education, testing, contact tracing, vaccination, and other prevention and mitigation strategies with RIM communities. This partnership provides RIM communities and local health departments the resources they need to build and sustain the kinds of relationships and connections that result in strong public health. You can read more about NACCHO’s project with NRC-RIM here.

NRC-RIM provides a wide range of trainings, resources and tools to support LHDs to strengthen partnerships with RIM communities in their jurisdictions and to collaboratively design, implement, and evaluate innovative and sustainable approaches to primary and secondary prevention strategies for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Here are a few topic areas and projects that NRC-RIM offers that may be of interest to local health departments serving refugee, immigrant or migrant populations:

Creating Culturally and Linguistically Relevant COVID-19 Vaccine Materials
Ensuring a high-quality health education and communications program that is culturally and linguistically relevant is necessary to improve health outcomes in refugee, immigrant and migrant communities. Learn how to use NRC-RIM’s translated and customizable vaccine education templates, or make your own using a set of core principles.

For Mothers, by Mothers: A Community Health Meetup That Supports Vaccine Confidence
Learn how to use Mothers x Mothers, a toolkit designed to help organizations plan and implement health-focused meetup groups for immigrant and refugee mothers. By equipping community mothers with the tools to host their own meetups, we can increase access to relevant information delivered in a safe, supportive space.

#NoJudgment: A Vaccine Confidence Campaign Created By and For Immigrant and Refugee Youth
Learn how to use #NoJudgment, a toolkit that offers resources for community-based organizations and individuals to help de-escalate the often polarized conversations that are taking place around the COVID-19 vaccine among young people. These tools are especially designed to take into account the unique needs and concerns of young people belonging to RIM communities in the US.

Community-Led COVID-19 Messaging that Supports Vaccine Confidence
Unique communities need unique approaches to COVID-19 vaccine confidence that honor their priorities, values and the expertise of community leaders. Now, there are tools to help you do just that. Learn how you can create COVID-19 vaccine campaigns that are innovative, creative, and meet the needs of RIM communities where you live. This was presented in a NACCHO webinar in spring 2021.

NRC-RIM will host two webinars during World Immunization Week that support vaccine equity for youth and families from RIM communities:

We invite you to explore and take advantage of the materials included in the NRC-RIM that are most useful for your LHD and community. As public health professionals across the United States continue to work towards building immunity in the public and moving from the COVID-19 pandemic to incorporating COVID-19 vaccination into routine schedules and maintaining coverage for vaccines across the lifespan, we hope that these tools and resources help you to reach RIM populations and care for them as unique members of our local communities while respecting their global backgrounds, cultures, concerns and needs.

Additional NRC-RIM resources shared in a past blog post can be found here.

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