Connect to End COVID-19 Toolkits

Learn more about how social workers and their clients can engage in informed vaccine decision-making and how you can join the effort.

NASW, the NASW Foundation, and the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute (HBRT) at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work are partners in an initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to engage the nation’s more than 700,000 social workers in boosting COVID-19 vaccine confidence, uptake, and access, particularly among populations with low vaccination rates and higher vulnerability to severe forms of infection.

Vaccine confidence is a complex construct that involves a variety of personal factors such as religious beliefs, political beliefs, perceptions of the government, perceptions of science, individual and/or community experiences with health providers and/or systems, language and/or literacy, and/or immigration/refugee status. As is seen in public health initiatives generally, there are also systemic and logistical factors such as transportation, childcare, and misinformation/disinformation. With their distinctive “person in the environment” framework, social workers possess highly relevant expertise in helping facilitate informed vaccine decision making in this context.

The initiative will include a comprehensive education campaign for social workers on COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness, barriers to vaccination (e.g., misinformation/disinformation, logistical challenges, psychological, etc.), and the role of social workers in promoting vaccination. The initiative will also include trainings for social workers on facts and myths about the vaccines as well as training in Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and other evidence-based, culturally competent, public health- and social work-informed methods for helping clients to process health-related decisions.

Through reflective listening and other strategies, versus traditional advice-giving approaches, these methods support and honor the client’s capacity and right to make choices about their health, while centering science-based and accurate information.

HBRT will collaborate with Michigan State University to develop a smartphone mobile application for social workers which will provide readily accessible vaccine information, motivational interviewing strategies, screening questions and brief interventions, and effective vaccine messaging for real-time support. HBRT will also collaborate with NORC at the University of Chicago to assist in developing messaging and in evaluation efforts.

NASW’s 55 chapters and a number of specialty social work associations will also be engaged in the initiative.

Every day, many more people are becoming partially or fully vaccinated. But there are many others who have not yet gotten vaccinated, despite the demonstrated safety of the vaccines and their high degree of effectiveness in preventing severe illness and death.

As part of the NASW 2021 Virtual Forum: Reimagining Social Work In Health, a free webinar COVID-19 Vaccination through a Social Work Lens: Myths and Facts was held Nov. 9, 2021.

The webinar is now available on demand, free of charge and includes free CEs at the Social Work Online CE Institute. Learn more about the vaccines, including myths and facts, and special considerations for social workers. Summary excerpts from the webinar and webinar presentations are included below.

COVID-19 Facts

  • Anyone can contract COVID-19. We don’t know how COVID-19 will affect each person.
  • Certain populations are at greater risk of severe illness and/or death. Among others, these include:
    • Adults 65+
    • People with underlying medical conditions
    • People with mental health disorders and/or substance use disorders
    • People who are unhoused
    • People who are African American, Hispanic or Indigenous
    • LGBTQ people
    • Socially and/or economically vulnerable people
  • Some people develop long-term COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., Long Haul COVID), which can result in prolonged disruptions in health and even long-term disability.
  • COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and/or death.
  • Vaccinated people are eight (8) times less likely to be infected and 25 times less likely to experience hospitalization or death.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Serious side effects that could cause long-term health problems are extremely unlikely following any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support approval or authorization of a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and vaccine safety experts quickly assess unexpected adverse events to guide vaccine recommendations.

Follow this link to Myths and Facts Questions and Answers >>

Connect to End COVID-19: Informed Vaccine Decision-Making

In a complimentary NASW webinar held on January 12, 2022, participants learned how to apply MI and SBIRT frameworks to help clients with their decision-making around COVID-19 vaccination. That webinar is available for self-study, on demand, with complimentary CEUs from the NASW Social Work Online CE Institute.

The webinar is part of NASW’s Connect to End COVID-19 initiative—a partnership between NASW, the NASW Foundation and the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute (HBRT) at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2022, NASW and 14 of its state chapters, and HBRT will host 14 MI and SBIRT trainings across the United States, in states with low vaccination rates and high levels of vaccine hesitancy. These interactive trainings, lead by HBRT trainers, will introduce MI and SBIRT, and how these evidence-based modalities can be effectively deployed to help guide collaborative conversations with clients about COVID-19 vaccine decision-making. The complimentary six-hour trainings, held in two, three-hour sessions over two days, include six complimentary CEUs for currently practicing, licensed NASW social work members. The NASW Chapters providing trainings include: AL, AR, IN, KY, LA, MI, MO, MS, NV, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX.

Through Connect to End COVID-19, NASW and HBRT also are creating a Mobile Application (Mobile APP) to provide social workers with MI strategies, SBIRT screening questions, and vaccine information. Release of the APP is projected for early summer 2022.

Leading the University of Texas at Austin team are Mary Velasquez, PhD, Professor and HBRT Director; Kirk von Sternberg, PhD, Associate Professor and HBRT Associate Director; Leslie Sirrianni, LCSW, HBRT Senior Research Program and Training Coordinator; Lloyd Berg, PhD, Associate Professor and Division Chief of Psychology at UT-Austin’s Dell Medical School; and Diana Ling, HBRT Program Manager.


Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative conversation style that develops and strengthens a client’s motivation for and commitment to change. It has a strong evidence base in healthcare and focuses on the client’s strengths and capacity for change. In alignment with social work ethics and standards, MI supports and honors the patient’s capacity for, and right to, self-determination and agency.


Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to the delivery of early intervention around substance use disorders that is used in professional and community settings nationwide. It is grounded in MI principles and is meant to be a brief dialogue that takes about 10 minutes. In dialogues about vaccination, SBIRT provides clients the opportunity to explore what is best for them, and for providers to support their client’s decision.

Learn more with the following resources:

A centerpiece of the Connect to End COVID-19 initiative is providing accurate information to social workers about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines, including vaccine safety and effectiveness, barriers to vaccination (e.g., mis/disinformation, logistical challenges, psychosocial and social care considerations, etc.), and the role of social workers in supporting clients in informed decision making regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Key to the initiative are national, interactive trainings on the use of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and other evidence-based, culturally competent, public health and social work informed frameworks for helping clients process decisions regarding their health. A primary focus is on populations with low vaccination rates and greater vulnerability to severe forms of infection.


Past Webinars: Register For Complimentary Self-Study

What’s Next in the Pandemic, Through a Social Work Lens

February 24, 2022, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM (ET)

At this webinar, hear from social work and infectious disease experts about the evolving COVID-19 landscape, what’s on the horizon, and how social workers can continue to play a role in vaccine uptake, especially among special populations. This is the third in a three-part series offered through the Connect to End COVID-19 initiative in which NASW is partnering with the University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work.

Speakers:

  • Mona K. Gahunia, D.O., Associate Medical Director, Infectious Diseases/Internal Medicine, Kaiser Permanente
  • Anna Mangum, MSW, MPH, Deputy Director of Programs, National Association of Social Workers
  • Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Social Workers

Webinar materials include:

Register for complimentary self-study webinar "What's Next in the Pandemic Through a Social Work Lens" available in mid-March.


COVID-19 Vaccines Through a Social Work Lens: Supporting Informed Client Vaccine Decision Making Through Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

January 12, 2022

At this interactive event, participants learned how to apply MI and SBIRT frameworks in supporting clients in their decision making around the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. The complimentary webinar and CEUs are available for self-study.

This webinar is the second in a series of three webinars that are part of NASW’s Connect to End COVID-19 initiative, undertaken in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The third webinar in the series, “Supporting Special Populations in Vaccine Decision Making,” will be conducted February 24, 2022.

Speakers:

  • Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW – CEO, National Association of Social Workers
  • Anna Mangum, MSW, MPH – Deputy Director of Programs, National Association of Social Workers
  • Leslie Sirrianni, LCSW-S – Senior Research Program and Training Coordinator, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Stéphanie Wahab, PhD, MSW – Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University

Webinar materials include:

Register for complimentary self-study webinar "Supporting Informed Client Vaccine Decision Making"


COVID-19 Vaccination Through the Social Work Lens: Myths and Facts

November 9, 2021

As part of the NASW 2021 Virtual Forum: Reimagining Social Work In Health, a complimentary webinar, COVID-19 Vaccination through a Social Work Lens: Myths and Facts, was offered. The complimentary webinar and CEUs are available for self-study.
Millions of people are becoming partially or fully vaccinated each day. However, there are many others who have not gotten vaccinated, despite the demonstrated safety of the vaccines and their high degree of effectiveness in preventing severe illness and death. At this webinar, learn more about the vaccines, including myths and facts, and special considerations for social workers.

Webinar materials include:

Register for complimentary self-study webinar “Covid-19 Vaccination through a Social Work Lens: Myths and Facts”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a wide array of information and resources that are beneficial to social workers who are working to enhance COVID-19 vaccine confidence and support clients in informed vaccine decision-making.

Vaccine Confidence

Addressing Misinformation/Disinformation

Health Care Providers

Communications

Special Populations

Health Equity



woman with a mask looking at the camera and 2 hands reaching toward each other in a heart graphic

COVID-19 Resources

Social workers support informed decision making about important healthcare choices, provide health information from credible sources, and address mental and behavioral health concerns arising as a result of this public health crisis.

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