Family Vaccination Site Playbook
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What is a family vaccination site?
Family Vaccination Sites are intended for the whole family—offering primary vaccinations and updated vaccines for people 6 months and older. Located in trusted settings like community centers, schools, and places of worship, these sites are designed to make it easy and comfortable to get COVID-19 shots. Convenience and equity are at the center of these sites, which employ strategies such as evening or weekend hours, live language translation services, transportation assistance, and on-site trusted health experts to share information and answer questions.
Why this type of site?
Vaccination is an important tool for reducing the impact of COVID on communities. Increasing COVID-19 vaccinations and centering on equity requires making vaccinations easily accessible, meeting people where they are with information from trusted sources and eliminating barriers to getting the vaccine.
Family vaccination sites are a key tool for meeting parents, guardians, and their families where they are. These sites take a comprehensive approach to continuing to expand access by allowing parents to get their children vaccinated together, to get their updated vaccine along with their child’s first shot, or to get vaccinated for the first time, together. This removes the burden on families to schedule and make time to travel to separate appointments.
Convenience is a key factor that plays into families deciding to get vaccinated. Research highlights the importance of vaccination availability at trusted locations, convenient vaccination hours, and ease of scheduling/appointment-seeking. In a May 2021 survey, Kaiser Family Foundation found that more than 3 in 10 individuals unvaccinated against COVID-19 were concerned about not being able to get the vaccine from a trusted place, and more than 1 in 5 were concerned that they might need to take time off work to get vaccinated. Additionally, a recent study found that approximately 20 percent of individuals who were “cautious” about getting the vaccine indicated that they would be more likely to get the vaccine if they were able to schedule a family appointment or had vaccination sites they could easily access. By allowing vaccination of all family members at once during convenient hours, family vaccination sites can meet individuals’ need for convenience to get vaccinated.
Many families continue to have questions about vaccination. Getting these questions answered is critical to individuals’ vaccination decisions. In a July 2021 survey, Kaiser Family Foundation found that more than half of those who were initially vaccine hesitant ultimately got vaccinated because they learned or heard something persuasive, and more than one-third say they spoke with someone who persuaded them to get a COVID-19 vaccine—including 10 percent who cited their own doctor or health care provider. Knowing that many individuals do not have a primary care provider, clinicians and health workers on-site at a family vaccination site can play an important role in getting individuals the information they need to make a vaccination decision. Additional wrap-around services, like on-site language translation or free transportation, should be implemented to meet local community needs and further expand access. Site should also ensure that appropriate access is provided for individuals with disabilities.
How to set up a family vaccination site
This section provides an overview of how to set up a family vaccination site. Detailed operational planning considerations are provided in subsequent sections.
- Select a COVID-19 vaccine provider: Vaccine providers include local health departments, pharmacies, health systems, community health centers, rural health clinics, and other medical providers. Each provider may have different processes and capacity to host clinics, especially for clinics that manage multiple vaccine products. Also, not all providers are able to vaccinate children under 3 years. To find a provider near you, reach out to your local health department or visit vaccines.gov. To reach out to pharmacy partners, see contact information here and a sample outreach email below. To be connected to hospitals in your area, email the American Hospital Association at COVID19@aha.org. To reach out to your local community health center, use the Find A Health Center locator. Consider talking to your vaccine provider about offering flu or other routine immunizations along with the COVID-19 vaccine at your vaccination clinic. For sample roles and responsibilities to get your planning started, see below.
- Pick a date and secure a site: Leverage the reach of your community network to pick a convenient, trusted location for your vaccination clinic. Work with the vaccine provider to consider the date and time that may work best for your community, including weekend and off-hours. Consider pairing a vaccination clinic with a community event already scheduled or being scheduled—such as a local fair or holiday event. Take time now to schedule the second clinic date at the appropriate time. To support states in their vaccination programs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is making mobile vaccination units available, fully funded by FEMA; details on how to request support are below.
- Conduct outreach to your community: You will play a critical role in engaging and educating your local community. Work with the vaccine provider to finalize the scheduling and to implement a walk-in process, considering the need to be able to schedule different types of appointments for different vaccines. Share information about the upcoming vaccination clinic, as well as general vaccination information—including that COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone and individuals can receive a vaccine regardless of immigration or insurance status. Make sure to share information on whether parental presence or consent is required, in line with state regulations. Work with your vaccine provider to ensure clinic attendance by using online advanced appointment scheduling, text, and call reminders. To amplify and engage your community, consider posting on social media, sharing signage, and leveraging trusted messengers in your community. Resources are available at wecandothis.hhs.gov/resources to support your organization in conducting outreach and having conversations about vaccination.
- Make family-friendly plans: Think about how to make parents, guardians, teens, and kids feel comfortable and excited about coming to your site to get vaccinated. That may mean organizing kid-friendly decorations and activities. Check out the We Can Do This kids resource page for coloring pages, vaccination badge sticker, and a selfie station design to encourage pre- and post-vaccination photos. It’s also important to consider offering wrap-around services, like on-site translation and free transportation, to make your site as accessible as possible to your local community.
- Host your clinic: Work hand-in-hand with the vaccine provider to finalize the operations of your event. Continue to engage your local community, including with day-of reminders. Identify a lead to liaise with the vaccine provider on-site to help ensure the day goes smoothly. Get creative to make this a fun event!
Sample initial outreach email to vaccine provider
The sample email below outlines information that may be helpful to potential vaccine providers as you reach out for vaccination support.
Dear [VACCINE PROVIDER NAME],
On behalf of [ORGANIZATION NAME], I am reaching out to request support for a pop-up vaccination clinic in my community in [CITY, STATE]. The purpose of this vaccination clinic would be to vaccinate families ahead of the winter. We hope to host a [walk-in only, hybrid walk-in and pre-registration] clinic, to offer [COVID-19 vaccinations /COVID-19 and flu vaccinations].
Our preferred clinic date and location would be [DATE] at [ADDRESS or NEIGHBORHOOD]. At this time, we estimate that there would be [NUMBER] participants. [Insert any additional clinic requirements].
Would it be possible for [VACCINE PROVIDER NAME] to support this clinic? I am happy to provide additional information as needed or further discuss how this clinic can best work for you and our community. I can be reached by this email or [PHONE NUMBER].
Sample partnership roles and responsibilities
This is intended as an example to guide discussions and planning with the vaccine provider. Expectations will vary provider-by-provider and should be finalized directly as part of your partnership agreement.
Process for requesting federal support
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide 100% federal funding to support launching and operating family vaccination sites nationwide. Funding for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination is available to state, tribal, local and territorial governments as well as medical providers and other non-profit partners. FEMA also has available mobile vaccination units, fully funded by FEMA, that states can deploy to communities to support vaccination operations. For details on all vaccination costs eligible for full reimbursement, please see FEMA’s Public Assistance Medical Care Policy and FEMA’s advisory titled FEMA Funds Community Engagement for COVID-19 Vaccinations. To request support, reach out to your state’s Director of Emergency Management.
Detailed operational planning tools
Family vaccination site planning checklist
This checklist provides a sample list of readiness activities and considerations to support partners in setting up vaccination sites to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to kids, teens, parents, and guardians in trusted, family-friendly settings.
- Pick vaccination date(s) and time(s)
- Consider that the month of December has multiple holidays when selecting dates and duration
- Determine the hours where parents/guardians in your community can easily attend –including before or after school/working hours or on weekends
- Consider that consistency in dates and times may facilitate outreach and communications (e.g., drop-in hours every Wednesday from 4:00-7:00p.m.)
- Schedule times for second doses, to help support vaccination series completion
- Prepare scheduling platforms to allow for different types of appointments for different vaccine products (e.g., adult primary series, updated vaccines, kids primary series) – and, if possible, to allow scheduling of multiple appointments at the same time
- For sites open for extended periods, consider operating ideally for 6 weeks (3 weeks for first doses, 3 weeks for second doses) and at least 3 days per week, with weekend and afternoon/evening availability
- Ensure availability and optimal use of supply
- Determine whether the vaccine provider can provide vaccines for all ages
- Review CDC and manufacturer materials regarding product configuration, shipping, storage, dosing, and intervals
- Work with your jurisdiction as needed to assure availability of first and second doses
- Manage and accurately report on-hand product inventory to track doses near-expiry and facilitate dose distribution/redistribution as needed
- Monitor trends in demand to anticipate changes in inventory
- Order additional vaccine responsibly to avoid accumulation of unadministered inventory
- Consider offering influenza or other childhood and routine vaccines to be offered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine
- Ensure site readiness (see Staffing and Supply Considerations below)
- Reference CDC’s general information on COVID-19 Vaccination for Children
- Consider offering both walk-in and advance appointment scheduling, to support accessibility and allow for operational planning in terms of staffing and supply Select your vaccination location. Spaces must be well-ventilated, clean, and spacious enough for social distancing before, during and 15–30 minutes after immunization
- Use CDC’s Guidance for Planning Vaccination Clinics as a resource. If partnering with a school, consult CDC’s Considerations for Planning School-Located Vaccination Clinics
- Design your vaccination site to include stations or opportunities for registration, immunization, observation, and data reporting – as well as entertainment and engagement
- Stay up to date on your state’s parent/guardian consent requirements, and ensure staff are trained and equipped to obtain necessary consent
- Ensure sufficient staffing levels at the vaccination site, including:
- Administrative staff to handle registration and traffic flow
- Clinical staff to administer vaccine and conduct the post-vaccination observation period
- Staff to engage/talk with families and answer questions
- Staff for data entry and reporting
- Staff and community partners to generate turnout, greet families, and host family programming
- Ensure staff receive adequate education and training to administer vaccinations, including to co-administer COVID-19, influenza, and other childhood vaccines, when appropriate
- Equip and train staff to respond to possible severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis
- Work with your state to apply for 100% federal reimbursement for the costs associated with vaccinations and site readiness – including site set-up, equipment, transportation to/from vaccination sites, and outreach to the public (see details on how to apply for support above)
- Advance equity at vaccination sites
- Display key messages in multiple languages commonly used in the local community and offer on-site translation services
- Ensure site staff are trained in culturally responsive practices and trusted messengers are present for vaccine education
- Arrange accessible transportation or ensure free public transportation for individuals who may not be able to afford or otherwise access transport to site
- Offer walk-in vaccinations for individuals with unpredictable schedules and call center support for individuals who may have challenges scheduling their appointment online
- Share information through electronic and social media platforms in ways that are accessible to individuals with disabilities (e.g. alternate text, closed captioned videos)
- Share information on the site with local communities through accessible and multilingual messaging and communications (e.g. media outlets specific to various constituencies)
- Ensure site is compliant with The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)requirements, so that all vaccination facilities and services are accessible to people with disabilities
- Ensure information system readiness
- Remain aware of changes to jurisdictional immunization reporting requirements. For the latest guidance from your jurisdictional immunization program, contact your Immunization Program Manager.
- Prepare data collection and information systems to support new requirements, including but not limited to codes for billing and payments and tracking vaccine types and doses
- Prepare scheduling and patient reminder systems and ensure they have the capacity to handle increases in user traffic
- Bolster capacity for call center(s) and website(s) as needed to handle additional volume
- Onboard your site to vaccines.gov, so that parents/guardians know about your vaccination site:
- Once you are an approved COVID-19 vaccine administrator and have received a registration email from vaccines.gov, set up a COVID Locating Health account, using the Quick Start Guide
- Manage and regularly report your inventory in the COVID Locating Health portal, either by logging it manually or uploading a file
- Update your vaccines.gov public display settings in the COVID Locating Health portal so that parents, including those not currently connected to your hospital, know where and when your hospital is offering children’s vaccinations, as well as how to make an appointment.
- Provide access to WiFi for clinical data entry (if possible)
- Drive outreach and turnout
- Directly engage parents/guardians of children through calls, texts, emails, and more
- Work with local community leaders, community- and faith-based organizations, school districts, and others to drive turnout across communities – including out reach in multiple languages
- Work with partners to host community engagements where pediatric providers and public health personnel can answer questions about the vaccine
- Prepare and distribute patient education materials across multiple platforms and in multiple languages on the risks of COVID-19 to children and the safety and benefits of vaccination
- Ensure materials are clear, culturally responsive, and accessible to all literacy levels
- Take advantage of successful COVID-19 vaccination efforts and lessons learned. For an example, see Overview of Barriers and Facilitators in COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach
- Engage businesses, sports teams, entertainment, and others to create fun programming for both children and their families
- Leverage partnerships (e.g., American Academy of Pediatrics state chapters) to help mobilize providers and messaging to families
- Visit We Can Do This resource page for readymade materials to support your organization in conducting outreach and having conversations about vaccination
Staffing and supply considerations
This overview provides a high-level set of considerations when planning for site operations, including with respect to staffing and supply. For more detailed operational plans, see the FEMA Community Vaccination Center Playbook.
- In scoping facility space requirements, plan for adequate space for registration, post-vaccination monitoring, and separate preparatory and administrative areas.
- Consider privacy requirements during both registration (personal information) and vaccination (modesty, clothing removal). These areas should be separated from the general flow areas.
- Personnel needs for family vaccination sites will vary based on the projected size and throughput of each site. See the FEMA Community Vaccination Center Playbook for general references on staffing requirements based on size of facility.
- When planning for staffing requirements, consider duration and number of shifts; staff rotation/breaks; the number of people in lines; and weather.
- Volunteer participation can be lower than forecasted, either in the number of hours, number of days, or actual follow-through after sign-up. Ensure last-minute gaps can be addressed by making plans for contingency staffing as needed.
- Consider that staff turnover over time can be significant, even if initial staffing is sufficient. Make plans to backfill staff as needed, or adjust throughput over time.
- The ability to receive vaccine in appropriate quantities for daily distribution from an appropriate hub should be coordinated with the local health authority or a medical provider. If possible, family vaccination sites may want to consider avoiding on-site overnight storage of vaccine to reduce likelihood of spoilage or loss.
- To ensure the (refrigerated) vaccines are appropriately transported to and stored at family vaccination sites, review CDC’s Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit and the Food and Drug Administration’s appropriate manufacture vaccine’s Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine.
- Consider reaching out to your state’s Director of Emergency Management for assistance, as states can deploy mobile vaccination units fully funded by FEMA to communities
(see Playbook for detailed information on specific responsibilities)
Equipment and supply requirements
- We Can Do This Outreach Resources for COVID Vaccinations for Children
- On-Site Vaccination Clinic Toolkit
- FEMA Community Vaccination Centers Playbook
- FEMA Civil Rights Considerations During COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Efforts
- FEMA’s Public Assistance Medical Care policy
- National Rural Health Association (NRHA) COVID-19 Resources Page