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CSU Students Reach Out to the Unvaccinated

Christianne Salvador

Students are influencing community members to get past the misconceptions, fears and lack of access to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nursing student volunteers of the Street Medicine program at Cal State San Bernardino promotes and ​provides the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable communities.


​​​​As COVID-19 cases have roared back with the highly infectious Delta variant, the number of unvaccinated adults is a growing concern. In fact, 99% of California's COVID-19 infections occur among the unvaccinated. With this in mind, the CSU is requiring all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated before accessing campus facilities this fall.

Beyond the university campuses, CSU students are also taking action to protect vulnerable communities by educating local residents—especially those in high-risk areas—on the importance of getting vaccinated.

“There are a number of reasons why many are still unvaccinated," says Diane Vines, Ph.D., adjunct lecturer at Cal State San Bernardino. “Some people fear the vaccine's efficacy and safety while others simply don't have access to the vaccines."

Through campus programs, student volunteers are serving as ambassadors in their communities by speaking to residents one-by-one, debunking myths and increasing people's confidence in the vaccine.

Influencing through built trust

Dr. Vines says gaining a person's trust is key to effectively persuading them to get vaccinated.

As the director of CSUSB's Street Medicine program, Vines has been leading nursing students to provide free healthcare services for homeless and unsheltered people in the Coachella Valley since 2018.

“Our students have gained trust from the people we've been serving, so our urging has helped convince those who are hesitant to be vaccinated. We are working with physicians, trusted leaders and community organizations to influence people," explains Vines.

The program's mobile clinic also travels around the area to provide vaccinations for those who face barriers to access. This includes elderly residents who live in senior housing and farm workers and their families, to name a few.

Dispelling myths and misconceptions

At CSUN, students are using social media to address myths associated with the vaccine and virus. Students enrolled in cinema and television arts courses created informative videos on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook intended to be shared among their fellow Matadors and the greater community.

To reach Spanish, non-English speakers, Sonoma State's Center for Community Engagement partnered with the Latino Health Forum for a series of bilingual videos addressing concerns and common misconceptions about the vaccine and Covid.

Peer outreach

With the fall semester just around the corner, the Civic Action Fellows Program at Cal State LA and San José State are ensuring students and staff are ready to come to campus. Cal State LA's AmeriCorps program partnered with the LA County Department of Public Health to develop a comprehensive outreach campaign promoting vaccination among students, staff and their families. At SJSU, Civic Action Fellows created social media threads answering community questions about Covid-19.

The CSU supports California's comprehensive efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition to requiring vaccinations for students and employees, campuses are offering vaccination clinics and testing services. To learn more about how the CSU is responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, visit