Free online course helps parents make decisions about vaccines

A free online course offered by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health aims to encourage parents to make evidence-based decisions about vaccinating their children.

It’s called “COVID Vaccine Ambassador Training: How to Talk to Parents,” and it will train a cohort of vaccine ambassadors comprising parents of school-age children, teacher and school staff. They will learn to discuss concerns parents and guardians might have about the coronavirus vaccines, a Johns Hopkins news release said.

“While these vaccines work, unless children and their parents feel confident pursuing them, we’ll continue to see COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and death rates go up,” Rupali Limaye, the director of Behavioral and Implementation Science at the Bloomberg School’s International Vaccine Access Center, said in a statement.

The school said that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average 672 children 17 and under were admitted to hospitals every day during the week ending Jan. 2, which is the highest number of the pandemic.

The course will also teach people how to have “respectful and empathetic” conversations with those who remain hesitant about vaccination for their children, even if they are vaccinated themselves.

“Having conversations about COVID-19 vaccinations, can, at times, feel uncomfortable, especially if parents don’t see eye to eye or the conversation turns political, but we need to have this kind of dialogue with one another if we’re going to move forward in this pandemic and begin to address vaccine hesitancy,” Limaye said.

Other things the course covers include communication strategies, how to engage in constructive conversations about vaccine hesitancy and reliable sources of information about the vaccines.

The course is available on Coursera.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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