Proactive Vaccine Outreach Strategies: Rhode Island Includes ASL Interpretation in Outreach Campaign

Key Partners: Rhode Island Department of Health, Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Rhode Island Deaf Senior Citizens, RDW Group

Description: With support from an NWD/ADRC grant, the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging (RIOHA) is making its COVID-19 Vaccine Access marketing and media campaign accessible to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (HoH) community. The public health campaign advertises the state’s POINT program, which works to provide COVID-19 vaccine information and support to older adults, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers. Video materials, such as commercials, will be made accessible to the Deaf/HoH population with the inclusion of American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and closed captioning. The Deaf/HoH community was identified as a target for increased outreach with the help of Rhode Island Deaf Senior Citizens and the Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. After conducting a feedback survey with many partners in the community, RIOHA learned that Deaf/HoH individuals did not have access to accurate, updated information due to a delay in receiving translated materials. As a result of this assessment, RIOHA has ensured that information is accessible to all RI citizens at the same time. For states looking to implement similar practices, RIOHA recommends creating an open dialogue with partners, ensuring that citizens feel heard and included, and sharing frequent updates on the work being completed.

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