Essential Learning for Nurses

COVID-19 Vaccines

Supported by The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Millions of Americans have either received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or are committing to vaccination — but millions more aren’t so sure. Members of the public aren’t the only group who remain uncertain about vaccination. According to a survey by the American Nurses Association, a notable percentage of nurses also report skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines.

Nurses are valuable messengers about vaccination for COVID-19. Before you talk with your patients or colleagues about their decision to get a shot in the arm, be sure that you arm yourself with evidence-based information about the vaccines and a full understanding of reasons underlying vaccine hesitancy.

We’re here to help.

We’ve compiled expert knowledge and other resources to help you have informed, empathetic, and respectful vaccination conversations.

Videos for this educational program were recorded March 31, 2021 through April 14, 2021, and provide relevant background information on COVID-19 vaccination and treatment. As the study of COVID-19 evolves, updates to vaccination and treatment occur rapidly. Learn more about the emergence of the delta variant, its effect on vaccination, and recommendations for vaccination boosters by following clinical updates. See the Resources sections on this page for more information.

A message to nurses: Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, former director of the CDC, discusses nurses’ unique role in talking with others about COVID-19 vaccination.

What to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

Nurses Ask the Experts

Investing time into these brief videos can help you learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines. You’ll gain the evidence-informed knowledge you need to discuss vaccine-related concerns with your patients and colleagues.

Part 1: About COVID-19 Vaccines
With Angela Rasmussen, PhD
How confident are you in your knowledge of how the COVID-19 vaccines work? A noted virologist with the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University explains the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and details how the vaccine development process unfolded.

Part 2: About COVID-19 Variants
With Angela Rasmussen, PhD
Uncertainty surrounds the impact of COVID-19 variants on the global pandemic. Dr. Rasmussen, of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, returns to discuss the state of the science on variants circulating in the U.S.

Vaccine Appropriateness in Vulnerable Populations
With Kate Henderson, DNP, MSN, MPH, RN
Questions swirl around whether patients with immunocompromised conditions, pregnant or nursing women, and others with medical vulnerabilities should seek vaccination. Dr. Henderson, faculty at Marymount University with expertise in population health, addresses the medical consensus on vaccination of vulnerable populations.

Perspective: The Data on Vaccine Side Effects
With Libbe Englander, PhD
Patients and nurses alike cite concern about side effects as a chief reason they resist COVID-19 vaccination. A specialist in healthcare analytics crunched the numbers and gives an evidence-based perspective on the incidence of vaccine adverse events.
Download the Data Summary

About Treatments

About COVID-19 Long Haul Syndrome
With Eric Topol, MD, PhD
One-third of COVID-19 survivors continue to experience life-altering symptoms months after recovery. Dr. Topol of Scripps Research explains what is known about COVID-19 Long Haul Syndrome and what might come next for those with lasting symptoms.

The Promise of Monoclonal Antibody Treatment
With Ernesto Oviedo-Orta, MD, PhD, MBA
Early intervention with monoclonal antibody treatment has been shown to reduce the risk of severe illness in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Dr. Oviedo-Orta, infectious disease lead and senior director of medical affairs at Regeneron, which manufactures an antibody cocktail for SARS-CoV-2, explains the treatment for high-risk patients.

Delve Deeper: Recommended CE


Share COVID-19 Vaccine Knowledge

Watch these quick videos to know the science-sourced facts about COVID-19 vaccines, and share the learning with your colleagues.

mRNA Vaccines

Viral Vector Vaccines

Vaccine Development

COVID-19 Variants



Dig deeper to expand your knowledge of COVID-19 vaccines. With these additional resources, become a trusted source of accurate information your patients and colleagues can count on.

Vaccine Recommendations

ACIP COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations
Read the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ guidance on COVID-19 vaccine use and distribution.

CDC: Clinical Resources for COVID-19 Vaccines
Find product information for each COVID-19 vaccine, clinical considerations for vaccination, and other resources.

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs for Healthcare Professionals
Review common questions and answers regarding the indications for and documentation of COVID-19 vaccine administration, safety and efficacy of the vaccines, and more.

CDC: Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science
Learn about the infection and spread of the delta variant, as well as its impact on vaccine efficacy.

NIH: Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines Against the Delta Variant
Read the timely findings of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against the delta variant

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot
Explore common questions and answers surrounding recommendations for mRNA booster vaccinations.

Vaccine Mechanism of Action

CDC: Understanding mRNA Vaccines
Learn about how mRNA vaccines work and download an infographic for patient education.

CDC: Understanding Viral Vector Vaccines
Take a closer look at how viral vector vaccines work and access an infographic to share with patients.

Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers
Download an FDA-approved summary of the Pfizer-BioNtech mRNA vaccine authorized for use in the U.S.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers
Read and download a summary of the Moderna mRNA vaccine authorized by the FDA.

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers
Access downloadable material summarizing the FDA-authorized viral vector vaccine used in the U.S.

Additional Resources

FDA: Vaccine Facts
Download this pdf describing the path the COVID-19 vaccines took from research to emergency use authorization.

Johns Hopkins: COVID ‘Long Haulers’: Long-Term Effects of COVID-19
Read a succinct summary of the clinical ramifications of post-COVID syndrome.

COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Professionals
Find the latest updates on monoclonal antibody treatment and other resources from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Combat COVID web page.

CDC: Variants and Genomic Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2
Learn the details of the Delta and other COVID-19 variants, including the CDC’s role in tracking currently known and emerging variants.

What to Know About
COVID-19 Vaccination Uptake

Nurses Ask the Experts

As a nurse, your holistic approach to patient care puts you in an ideal position to consider all aspects of your patients’ and colleagues’ decision making about COVID-19 vaccination. Be prepared for vaccination conversations by spending a few minutes with experts and learning about factors that impact vaccination uptake.

COVID-19 Vaccination: Ethical Considerations
With Carol Taylor, PhD, RN, FAAN
Among the many ethical dilemmas faced by nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic, a question lingers: Are nurses ethically obliged to be vaccinated against the virus? Hear an answer from a senior clinical scholar at Georgetown University. Dr. Taylor was a founding member of the university’s Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics.

Vaccine Uptake in the African-American Community
With Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, RN
Media reports have focused on vaccine hesitancy among African-Americans, but is it reluctance or other barriers that deter this community from vaccine uptake? Join Dr. Boston-Leary, director of nursing programs at the American Nurses Association, for a discussion of the issues.

Vaccine Uptake in the Hispanic Community
With Adriana Perez, PhD, RN
Learn about barriers to vaccination facing the Hispanic community and ways to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines among Hispanic Americans and immigrants with Dr. Perez, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and former president of the National Hispanic Nurses Association, Phoenix chapter.

Vaccine Uptake in Rural Communities
With Robyn Seamon, MA, RN
Data shows fewer rural residents than urban residents plan to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Gain understanding of the sources of vaccine uncertainty and barriers to vaccination in Appalachia and other rural communities in this conversation with a homegrown nurse who passionately works to end healthcare disparities in rural regions.

Share COVID-19 Vaccine Knowledge

Across all settings and specialties, nurses field questions from their patients about COVID-19 vaccination. Watch these quick videos for tips on having vaccination conversations, and share the learning with your colleagues

Vaccine Safety Questions – Tip #1

Vaccine Safety Questions – Tip #2

Vaccine Safety Questions – Tip #3

Side Effect Questions – Tip #1

Side Effect Questions – Tip #2

Vaccination Conversations



Find a variety of toolkits and other resources to help you have knowledgeable conversations with patients and your colleagues about COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccination Communication

NIH: COVID-19 Vaccination Communication
Learn evidence-informed strategies for vaccination discussions from a behavioral and social science perspective.

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit
Access materials to support your conversations about vaccination with patients and colleagues.

Vaccine Communications: Guidance, Resources, and Tools
Explore insights into vaccine hesitancy, equity, and more from the nonprofit organization Resolve to Save Lives.

CDC: Talking With Patients Who Are Immunocompromised
Review tips for discussing an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for patients who are severely immunocompromised.

Vaccination Communication in Specific Communities

COVID-19 Vaccination Education Initiative: Toolkit for Black Communities
Find tips from the Ad Council for building vaccine confidence in African-American communities.

COVID-19 Vaccination Education Initiative: Toolkit for Hispanic Communities
Tap into a variety of resources from the Ad Council to facilitate conversations with patients and colleagues.

COVID-19 Vaccination Education Initiative: Toolkit for Faith Communities
Learn ways to work with faith leaders to responsibly encourage conversations about COVID-19 vaccination.

Community Education Toolkit: Messaging That Resonates
Build on proven messaging strategies from the Ad Council to build confidence and trust in COVID-19 vaccination.

Additional Resources

CDC: Rapid Community Assessment Guide
Explore ways healthcare organizations can identify and respond to communities at risk for low vaccine uptake.

COVID-19 Vaccination by Race/Ethnicity
Know the data on vaccination rates with up-to-date facts from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor – Rural America
Learn what Kaiser Family Foundation research has determined about uptake of vaccines among rural residents.

CDC: VaccineFinder
Use this tool to help your patients find a vaccination location or see this state-by-state guide.

CDC: V-Safe After Vaccination Health Checker
Get information on this smartphone-based program providing personalized health check-ins after vaccination

Ethics Talk: COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the Health Care Workforce
Watch or listen to a conversation with medical ethics expert Arthur Caplan, PhD.

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