BALTIMORE, Md. — Some parents could become the new voice of vaccine information.
Johns Hopkins University offers a new online course designed to teach adults how to have informed conversations with other parents who may be hesitant to vaccinate their children.
The instructors said they met with an advisory group of parents when developing this course and most of them were teachers with children under 12.
The new course comes as Pfizer pushes for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for children under five.
“A lot of the parents I’ve talked to, you know, if they had a question about a vaccine, I’d say, well, here’s what I would suggest, but I’d also talk to your health care provider. And they would say, like, I don’t trust my health care provider,” said Rupali Limaye, associate scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Limaye said those conversations were the motivation to create the online course just for parents.
During the 90 minute training, she said parents learn about hesitation, how vaccines and your immune system work, and communication skills.
“We took it to a level that parents could understand because I think a lot of the resources out there are really for people who have a background in public health,” Limaye said.
She said the goal was to help parents debunk misinformation and share evidence-based information.
“The reason we wanted to have parent ambassadors is because we know there’s been a decline in confidence in helping the health care system,” Limaye said. “We know that people who are hesitant are much more likely to turn to their peers than to someone within the healthcare system.”
As of late January, instructors say people were enrolled in the course with some school districts who plan to use it for their staff.
Additionally, a new Kaiser Family Foundation Poll shows that about a third of parents of children aged 5 to 11 have had them vaccinated. This is double the response from parents last November.
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