NADSP Takes Part In Nationwide Initiative To Improve Vaccination Rates Among DSPs

Oct 20, 2021 | News

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) has been selected as one of nine national organizations to receive funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through a cooperative agreement with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). The comprehensive nationwide campaign will help improve the vaccination rates of the direct support workforce and people with disabilities.

According to a recent survey conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration and the NADSP, 26% of DSPs who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities remain unvaccinated.

NADSP Vaccine Outreach Activities

As the premiere trusted source of direct support professionals (DSPs), the NADSP will conduct targeted vaccine outreach activities in the disability community to increase vaccination rates among people with disabilities across the lifespan, their family caregivers, and DSPs.

More specifically, over the course of the following twelve months, the NADSP will:

    • Collect information through qualitative research activities to better understand the barriers (environmental, cultural, socioeconomic, attitudinal) preventing DSPs and people with disabilities from accessing the COVID-19 vaccine or employing other preventative measures.
    • Work with federal partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop, validate, and disseminate effective health communications strategies focused on improving vaccine uptake and the adoption of other best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 among DSPs.
    • Launch and execute a national public health education campaign targeting DSPs and other direct workers, as well as the individuals with significant disabilities that they support, to encourage vaccinations and other preventative measures against COVID-19 across this target population.
    • Facilitate a virtual community platform for DSPs and other direct care workers to ask questions, seek information, and receive educational resources related to COVID-19 along with preventative measures in order to ensure accurate, data-driven information is shared with the target population. The platform will also link DSPs to local vaccination clinic sites for them to register for a vaccination and/or booster shot.
    • Identify and summarize key learnings and promising practices regarding strategies for changing the attitudes, behaviors, and actions of DSPs, other direct care workers, and persons with disabilities toward adopting COVID-19 preventative measures.

“With 26% of DSPs unvaccinated, there remains so much work to do and information to share about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines,” says Joseph Macbeth, President and CEO of NADSP. “As our Code of Ethics states, DSPs must encourage personal growth and recognize the autonomy of individuals with disabilities receiving support while being attentive and energetic in reducing the risk of harm.”

To assist DSPs from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NADSP has been providing a variety of toolkits, resources, and webinars with healthcare experts to share timely, trusted, and well-researched information. In this vein, the NADSP remains committed to inform the direct support workforce and the disability community about the safety and efficacy of available vaccines and looks forward to partnering with AUCD and sharing information with the other organizations to improve vaccine rates among our essential workforce.

Vaccine Hesitancy Campaign: Partner Organizations

As stated above, the NADSP is among the nine national leaders in the disability and human services field selected to be a part of the coordinated initiative to address vaccine hesitancy. This campaign has been established through a cooperative agreement with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). The partner organizations include:


    • American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
    • The Arc
    • Autism Society
    • Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
    • Family Voices
    • National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP)
    • National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC)
    • Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
    • Spina Bifida Association

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