building vaccine confidence | An initiative to strengthen public trust in vaccines | #BuildingVaxConfidence

The University of Alabama

To assess nursing faculty and undergraduate student attitudes, beliefs, and confidence surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, the nursing school hosted two in-person forums on campus. Information collected at these forums was used to inform a media campaign and student training session. The media campaign consisted of success stories surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine from key, recognizable members of the target communities. In addition, messaging was developed for sharing across a variety of media platforms to reach varying age groups. This campaign focused on the University of Alabama’s well-known mascot and slogan. Additionally, project leaders hosted a forum for healthcare workers and community members to share their thoughts and receive CDC-based education regarding the vaccine.

Curriculum Resources

The University of Alabama developed two training guides for Townhall Meetings and Motivational Interviewing. The topics in the guides include:

  • Drivers of Hesitancy

  • Misinformation sources

  • Addressing misinformation

  • Credible information gathering

  • Framing your message

  • Power of personal stories

Learning Opportunities

COVID-19 Vaccine Townhall Meetings - The University of Alabama hosted five COVID-19 Vaccine Townhall Meetings to bring together faculty and students to discuss the current state of vaccines as well as community myths. The project team recruited faculty and students through the email listserv and flyers.

Motivational Interviewing Training - The University of Alabama’s project team held a Motivational Interviewing Training for BSN students with the purpose for students to utilize motivational interviewing with clients in rural Alabama.

Uniontown Color Run - The University of Alabama’s project team recruited community members to attend the 2nd Annual Uniontown Color Run. Participants in the Color Run as well as community members attending the festivities were asked to take part in general vital signs screening as well as education about heart healthy eating. The community health nursing students trained in motivational interviewing were the staff that day in the health tent and utilized their skills to talk to community members about the vaccine.  

Media and Outreach Strategies

The University of Alabama’s principle investigator was interviewed by the local news station to support the college’s efforts regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. To view the interview, please click here.

The University of Alabama’s project team designed two billboards in rural Alabama to encourage community members to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Image of Billboard displayed in Uniontown, Alabama            image of Billboard displayed in Forkland, Alabma
Billboard posted in Uniontown, Alabama   Billboard posted in Forkland, Alabama



The greatest success of the University of Alabama’s project was the implementation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Townhall Meetings for nursing students and faculty. The discussion based format of the meetings allowed attendees to share their concerns regarding what their patients were saying about the vaccine as well as how their practice could be improved upon in counseling the public regarding the vaccine. This has set the tone at the college to continue holding these forum style meetings in the future surrounding ideas about the pandemic as well as other public health crises.

School at a Glance

map of alabama with a star over tuscaloosa

  • Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • School Type: Public University
  • Partners:
    • Choice, Inc.
  • Faculty Contact: Dr. Haley Townsend