Policy Forum: The Direct Support Workforce and COVID-19: Vaccinations


This Policy Forum addresses COVID-19 vaccinations among direct support professionals (DSPs). It is based on a Policy Research Brief of the same name. The brief contained findings from a recent study on COVID-19 and vaccination rates among DSPs. Conducted by ICI and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, the study showed significant variability in the timing and location of vaccination among different racial groups of DSPs. It was identified that there are multiple factors as to why DSPs may choose to receive the vaccine or not, such as accessibility, fear of vaccination, and cultural influence. While DSPs reported similar total rates of being fully or partially vaccinated, there was variability between White and Black DSPs in terms of access, timing, and culture associated with receiving the vaccine.

DSPs come from a wide range of backgrounds which may influence their ability and willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  To move forward with a positive vaccine model, providers and State organizations need to increase awareness about the benefits of vaccination, while maintaining the visibility of DSPs of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.

Discussant: John Raffaele, NADSP

Facilitators: Julie Bershadsky and Jack Reagan, ICI


Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL)


  • Direct support workforce
    • Human resources and management
  • Health and safety
    • Health and wellness