Nurse-Led Vaccine Confidence Project Program Recap

Oct 23, 2023 | COVID News |

COVID-19 Update from the Nurse-Led COVID Vaccine Confidence Project

In February 2021, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium (NNCC) partnered with this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote trust in the COVID-19 vaccines by leveraging the public’s pre-established trust in nurses. The project ran from February 2021 through September 2023. 

As the most trusted healthcare professionals, nurses are essential for building vaccine confidence in addition to the physical administration of vaccines. NNCC prepared the nursing workforce for important conversations and decision-making throughout the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The primary goals of the Vaccine Confidence Project were to:

  • Provide the trustworthy information needed to speak with members of care teams and patients about COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Provide learning opportunities to hear from experts on up-to-date guidance, share experiences with nursing colleagues, and strengthen the nursing role.
  • Elevate the nursing voice by featuring everyday nurse champions.

Below is a summary of program activities. 

Vaccine Confidence Advisory Committee

In order to elevate the nursing voice and inform our vaccine confidence work, NNCC launched the Vaccine Confidence Advisory Committee (VCAC) in April 2021, a group of 20 professional nurses selected from a pool of 144 applicants across the U.S. The VCAC represented diversity across nursing roles, healthcare settings, and populations served.

NNCC convened the VCAC in a dynamic monthly meeting wherein NNCC could update VCAC members on Vaccine Confidence activities and solicit feedback, and VCAC members could provide insight into vaccine confidence issues or themes encountered in their unique practice settings. In this way, VCAC members served a critical role in identifying vaccine knowledge gaps and informing the development and adaptation of COVID-19 vaccine guidance, tools, and best practices that consider the needs of nurses working in community settings with vulnerable populations. 

Through their collective knowledge of public health, nursing, and safety net healthcare, the VCAC lifted up the voices of under-represented communities, including communities of color, individuals with disabilities, and other special populations, and raised awareness of the barriers around equitable vaccine education and access. NNCC emphasized these issues in the development of vaccine confidence content, including a podcast series, online trainings, and a national media campaign. 

View Members of the VCAC 

Vaccine Confidence Trainings

NNCC’s webinars and learning collaboratives provided practical guidance to nurses and healthcare staff on the frontlines of primary care and public health. 

NNCC convened Vaccine Confidence Webinars with subject matter experts to disseminate vaccine guidance and empower healthcare professionals to lead conversations about vaccines with patients and colleagues. Participants were trained to respond to misinformation, facilitate health behavior change, coordinate community outreach, and build patient-provider trust.

Learning collaboratives are multi-session trainings designed to provide small groups with interactive activities, educational content, and peer-learning opportunities. In these sessions, attendees were encouraged to reflect on factors that influence health behaviors across all levels of socio-ecological model–such as interpersonal and organizational factors–to better understand and respond to vaccine hesitancy in their communities. 

The Vaccine Confidence Project hosted a total of 63 webinars and learning collaborative sessions, with 2,592 live participants. 

Vaccine Confidence Resources and Trainings 

At the Core of Care Podcast

At the Core of Care is a podcast where people share their stories about nurses and their creative efforts to better meet the health and healthcare needs of patients, families, and communities. The Vaccine Confidence Series on At the Core of Care featured nurses leading local COVID vaccination efforts across the country. This podcast was created by the Pennsylvania Action Coalition. Over three seasons, we produced 16 episodes that received a total of 5,167 listens (average 323 listens per episode).

Nurse-Led Vaccine Confidence Podcast Series 

Children's Vaccine Education Project

In February 2022, The Franklin Institute (TFI), in partnership with the NNCC, piloted the School Vaccine Education Program (SVEP) to develop a toolkit for supporting elementary school-based nurses in delivering educational programs about COVID-19 vaccines to school communities. The goal of the SVEP was to strengthen nurses’ expertise in educating elementary school students, with age-appropriate information from a trusted source, about the science of how the SARS-CoV-2 virus can make them sick and how vaccines work to protect them. The pilot cohort included ten nurses, who represent nine schools in Philadelphia and one in south central Pennsylvania that serve economically disadvantaged communities and other underserved populations.

In the second year of this project, the NNCC, TFI, and the Research & Evaluation Group at Public Health Management Corporation (R&E Group) partnered to scale up the SVEP to a national audience of nurses and children. The project was renamed the Children’s Vaccine Education Project (CVEP) to reflect that community-based nurses may use the toolkit to educate children and families in a variety of settings not limited to schools.

TFI trained and created toolkits for a cohort of 30 school- and community-based nurses across the country to educate children aged 2-11 years. The new toolkit introduced two new activities for children ages 2-5 years, a story time lesson and a color-matching game that demonstrates how vaccines identify germs in our bodies. CVEP was managed by NNCC & TFI and evaluated by R&E Group.

Children's Vaccine Education Project   Read the CVEP Report 

Social Media Toolkit

NNCC regularly promoted CDC guidance through three social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), primarily intended for nurses and other healthcare professionals. 

Additionally, the Vaccine Confidence Project launched a paid social media campaign to 1) build vaccine awareness amongst low-vaccination states and populations and to elevate the role of nurses as trusted messengers amongst these groups and 2) to provide adaptable social media resources for nurses that encouraged nurse participation as trusted messengers with their own, personalized posts. 

The project team developed 29 social media ads. Much of the content featured images and quotes from real nurses, including several members of the VCAC. Other posts directed nurse viewers to the social media toolkit. These ads ran on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn from February through July of 2022.

Over the six-month campaign, the ads generated over 6.7M impressions, 52,100 website clicks, and 17,600 site visits. Of these, over 3.5M came from individuals who identify as nurses on social media and 1.7M came from those who were classified as vaccine hesitant on social media (by keyword or in states with low vaccination rates).

NNCC's Vaccine Confidence Toolkit (Archived)  

For more information on NNCC's COVID-19 work and links to up-to-date COVID information, visit our COVID-19 page


This project was funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant number NU50CK000580). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this post do not necessarily represent the policy of CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government. 



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About The Author

Annelise Slater is a Public Health Project Manager at the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium. 

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