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Considerations for the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Workforce: Enhancing Access to COVID-19 Vaccination Services

Considerations for the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Workforce: Enhancing Access to COVID-19 Vaccination Services
Updated July 21, 2021
Training Contact Tracing Workforce
CDC's Role and Approach

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Case investigators and contact tracers have a primary purpose of preventing further spread of COVID-19 by quickly identifying people with COVID-19 (cases) and people who might have been exposed to COVID-19 (contacts) and having them isolate or quarantine. Prompt case investigation and contact tracing to slow the spread of COVID-19 should remain the primary goal of the case investigation and contact tracing workforce. However, as the pandemic evolves, these public health workers can also help connect people to important services and resources, such as COVID-19 vaccination. Case investigators and contact tracers can help people get access to vaccination services in the following ways.

Educate and link people to COVID-19 vaccination services through case investigation and contact tracing efforts

People with COVID-19 (cases)

  • Case investigators already engage with people diagnosed with COVID-19 to encourage them to isolate and monitor their symptoms. Case investigators can also emphasize the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine once the cases are eligible.

People should be vaccinated regardless of whether they already had COVID-19. Experts do not know how long people are protected from becoming reinfected with COVID-19 after recovering from COVID-19. Even if a person has already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare— to be reinfected with COVID-19.

People who might have been exposed to COVID-19 (contacts)

Link people to other supportive services to improve and facilitate access to vaccination services

  • Case investigators and contact tracers can connect people to language, transportation, homebound assistance, and other services that will remove barriers to getting vaccinated.

Identify other people eligible for vaccination through case management and surveillance databases

  • The case investigation and contact tracing workforce can identify people eligible for vaccination (for example, people previously diagnosed with COVID-19 or people identified as contacts) using information from COVID-19 case interviews and case investigations. They can also work with epidemiologists to use surveillance and other data to identify areas with high levels of community transmission and low vaccination uptake to prioritize vaccine outreach.

Additional Considerations

  • To help people access vaccination services, case investigators and contact tracers should have information related to vaccine eligibility, safety, and availability. This includes access to:
    • Vaccine locations
    • Scheduling systems
    • Digital tools (for example, mobile phones and tablets)
    • Information and resources
    • Key messages promoting vaccination
    • Surveillance data (case, contact, and vaccine coverage)

Assist with post-vaccination support

  • Case investigators and contact tracers can follow-up with people to ensure that all doses have been received, encourage enrollment in v-safe, and provide other support as needed. This may help build trust and promote case investigation, contact tracing, and vaccination services within the community.