Free online course helps parents make vaccine decisions

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

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

It is called “COVID Vaccine Ambassador Training: How to Talk to Parents” and it will train a cohort of Vaccine Ambassadors including parents of school-aged children, teachers and school staff. They will learn how to discuss concerns parents and guardians might have about coronavirus vaccines, a Johns Hopkins press release said.

“While these vaccines work, unless children and their parents feel confident to pursue them, we will continue to see COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and death rates increase,” Rupali Limaye, Director of Behavioral and Implementation Sciences at the Bloomberg School. International Vaccine Access Center, said in a statement.

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

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

“Having conversations about COVID-19 vaccinations can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially if parents disagree or the conversation turns political, but we need to have that kind of dialogue with each other if we’re going to to move forward in this pandemic and start tackling vaccine hesitancy,” said Limaye.

The course also covers communication strategies, how to engage in meaningful conversations about vaccine hesitancy, and sources of reliable vaccine information.

The course is available on Coursera.


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