Overcoming hesitancy to receive the new COVID-19 vaccines is a growing issue across the U.S. despite more 400,000 deaths resulting from virus to date. According to a recent report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, rural residents are among the most vaccine hesitant groups with seven in ten rural residents expressing at least some reluctance to receive the vaccine. But as trusted members of the communities they serve, Cooperative Extension faculty and staff are in a unique position to address the issue of vaccine hesitancy using ready-made materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC has developed several tool kits for use by various constituent groups in building confidence in the new COVID-19 vaccines and promoting their uptake. You will likely find the toolkit for Community Based Organizations to be most relevant to Cooperative Extension work. That toolkit can be accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronaviru...ty-organization.html
CDC’s Community Based Organization (CBO) Vaccination Toolkit contains plain language fact sheets in eight different languages, newsletter articles, key messages, customizable letters, social media graphics, posters, and flyers that you can use in your educational efforts. Many of these materials can be customized with your university or Extension logo.
You may also find relevant resources in the toolkits for essential workers (including agriculture), long-term care facilities, vaccine recipients, and healthcare professionals. For example, detailed information about the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines can be found in the Recipient Education Toolkit. The main menu from which you can view the materials contained in all of the toolkits can be accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/c.../toolkits/index.html
While the CDC should be considered the main source for information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, be aware that states have been given considerable flexibility with regard to the distribution of the vaccines. Consequently, you will want to be aware of your state’s guidance and protocols for vaccine distribution as well as any state-specific education and communication campaigns. Additionally, the most effective education and communication campaigns are often those done through multi-sector partnerships. Don’t hesitate to engage partners in your statewide or local efforts.
Extension leadership is currently engaged in ongoing discussions with CDC staff aimed at expanding the role of the Cooperative Extension System in immunization education and vaccine uptake.