Most syringe service programs (SSPs) continued to provide direct services to people who use drugs (PWUD) throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, functioning as a crucial lifeline for SSP participants in uncertain times. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the USA is well-documented, and vaccine uptake is impacted by race, education, and socioeconomic status, with marginalized groups being less likely to be vaccinated. SSP participants often have longstanding and trusting relationships with their SSPs and SSP program staff. The CDC funded NASTAD and AIDS United to administer grants to SSPs to focus on COVID-19, hepatitis A and B, and influenza vaccine delivery to people who use drugs.
Facente Consulting is serving as the evaluator of the three-tiered, multi-million dollar SSP-based vaccination project. As program evaluators, we designed a participatory process that assessed grantees’ capacity for data collection, accounting for the need to demonstrate robust program outcomes while avoiding burdensome, unnecessary data collection processes. Facente Consulting will produce five mixed-method evaluation reports that draw from analyzed quantitative data from 58 programs, while providing nuanced context through qualitative data collection that includes interviews and focus groups with grantmakers and grantees.