Considerations for the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Workforce: Enhancing Access to COVID-19 Vaccination Services
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 with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation.
- People without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria for discontinuing isolation before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.
- If a person was treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma (passive antibody treatment), they should wait at least 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Case investigators and contact tracers may be able to connect people to vaccination services by scheduling vaccination appointments or providing information on vaccination events.
- COVID-19 vaccine locations near you can be found by searching vaccines.gov, texting your ZIP code to 438829, or calling 1-800-232-0233. Additional information can be found on the How do I find a COVID-19 vaccine? webpage.
- CDC also provides information on how to talk to patients about COVID-19 vaccination.
People who might have been exposed to COVID-19 (contacts)
- Case investigators ask for information on other people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 (contacts). Case investigators can also emphasize the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine once the contacts are eligible.
- Contact tracers reach out to people who might have been exposed to COVID-19 (contacts). People who might have been exposed to COVID-19 should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and get tested and quarantine if indicated.
People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should receive testing and should quarantine. Exceptions include:
- Fully vaccinated people who show no symptoms.
- Unvaccinated people who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
- Contact tracers can also discuss the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine when the unvaccinated contacts have completed quarantine. Contact tracers can follow-up after testing to help make linkages to vaccination services or facilitate vaccination appointments for people who test negative for COVID-19.
- Case investigators and contact tracers can explain vaccine eligibility, answer questions, and dispel myths.
- When asking information about people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 (contacts), case investigators and contact tracers can emphasize ways they can connect people to vaccination services and share resources. This may serve as an additional incentive for people to provide information on their 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.
- 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.
- Contact Tracing Resources for Health Departments
- COVID-19 Contact Tracing Communications Toolkit for Health Departments
- COVID-19 Contact Tracing Communications Graphics
- Communication Resources for COVID-19 Vaccines
- COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkit for Health Departments and other Public Health Partners
- Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States
- How CDC Is Making COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations
- Guidance for Planning Vaccination Clinics
- Promote Vaccine Confidence
- Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines (cdc.gov)
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC
- Engaging Patients for COVID-19 vaccination
- COVID-19 Vaccines factsheet pdf icon[648 KB, 2 pages]
- How do I find a COVID-19 vaccine?
- Benefits of Getting Vaccinated
- Easy to Read COVID-19 Materials