Image displays a colorful brain with the phrase Neurodiversity Health Chats.

We are a group of students, trainees, and experts aiming to spark conversations and educate the community about promoting health in the neurodivergent community. Currently, we are focused on promoting vaccine confidence through interviews with experts, blog posts, and social media posts.

Our Goals

  • Support a communication strategy to make vaccine confidence visible and address misinformation among people with disabilities by engaging two key influencers: families and Direct Service Providers (DSPs).
  • Share success stories and promising practices on enhancing COVID-19 vaccination among people with disabilities to include accessible vaccine information and guidance for accessible vaccine distribution. 
  • Trans-create and disseminate CDC COVID-19 information for people with disabilities into alternative communication formats tailored for local audiences in our state/region. 
  • Dissemination of AUCD-developed templates for messages, using communication channels of print, web, or social media options to best reach people with disabilities, and their key influencers of families and DSPs, in our state/region. 

What is Vaccine Hesitancy?

According to WHO, vaccine hesitancy “refers to a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccine services”. The reasons for hesitancy arise from a multitude of distinct factors which vary depending on time, place, and the type of vaccination. The highest hesitancy rates have been largely found across populations that have been historically marginalized, including African-American and Latinx communities, along with individuals who identify as having lower rates of education and socioeconomic status (Khubchandani et al., 2021). This is significant considering how systemic racism and the historical abuse of BIPOC communities in past medical research have likely played a large role in the perpetuation of disparities in vaccine acceptance and accessibility (Quinn, et al., 2021). Several reasons behind vaccine hesitancy specific to the disabled community include uncertainties in vaccine safety and effectiveness based on their disability, the newness of the vaccine, side effects, and lack of trust in the government (Iadarola, et al. 2021). Moreover, there is a lack of prioritization of the disabled community in regards to getting vaccinated (Nicholson, 2021). Addressing vaccine hesitancy among disabled people is imperative given that such individuals have disproportionately died as a result of heightened exposure to healthcare workers and complications, such as immunosuppression during the Covid-19 pandemic (Singh, 2021).