Communities for Immunity was a funding program administered by the Association of Science and Technology Centers in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums and the Network of the National Library of Medicine, with the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Additional organizations involved in the effort included the American Library Association, Association of African American Museums, the Association of Children’s Museums, the Association for Rural and Small Libraries, the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums, and the Urban Libraries Council.
Communities for Immunity built on a number of earlier and ongoing efforts to activate various communities to engage in vaccine confidence work, including Vaccines & US—led by the Smithsonian and in collaboration with a range of partner organizations and individuals, Vaccinate with Confidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, We Can Do This from the Department of Health and Human Services, and It’s Up to You campaign led by the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, and the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project conducted by OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle.
Communities for Immunity awarded funding to museums, libraries, science centers, zoos, aquariums, gardens, and other cultural institutions located in the United States, including territories and tribal lands.
The initiative was designed to reach out to people who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine and had not yet received their first dose. The World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on Vaccine Hesitancy defines vaccine hesitancy as “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services. Vaccine hesitancy is complex and context specific, varying across time, place and vaccines. It is influenced by factors such as complacency, convenience and confidence.” The projects focused on engaging those audiences uncertain about, or delaying, vaccination rather than those firmly opposed to it.
The projects involved a wide range of activities, including printing and distributing pamphlets about COVID-19 vaccination, facilitating a community discussion about vaccines, opening or maintaining a vaccination site, and more.