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Missouri nursing school gets CDC grant to fight vaccine hesitancy

The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing will receive part of a $1 million grant from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase knowledge of and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine.

The AACN’s program, “Building COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Among Nurses and in Communities,” was announced in March. The University of Missouri is one of 10 nursing schools participating in the program and will receive $70,000, according to a media release from the school. UM’s resources also will be shared with nursing programs at Lincoln University and Central Methodist University in Missouri.

A media release from AACN said the initiative was developed to help faculty and students “have effective conversations about COVID-19 vaccinations in order to boost consumer confidence.”

More than 3.4 million people in Missouri, 55.9% of the population, are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC website, and 66% received at least one dose. The national vaccination rate is 64%.

“We want our students to not only have knowledge about the COVID-19 vaccine, but also to feel empowered and confident to engage with members of local communities who might feel hesitant about it, and to target key rural and underserved populations in Missouri where vaccine hesitancy may be more common and the vaccination rates might be lower,” Stefanie Birk, an assistant teaching professor at MU and a public health nurse, said in a statement.

Birk will work with Missouri’s School of Journalism faculty to develop marketing and communication strategies for social media, print, radio and billboards. Participants in the curriculum will receive a completion certificate.

“When having these conversations, part of our health promotion strategy is to acknowledge people’s feelings, listen to what their reservations are, and then use encouragement and motivational approaches,” Birk said. “Whether it is in a clinical setting or with family and friends, we want to offer support and promote public health outcomes.”

Other nursing schools receiving AACN grants are:

-Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (Georgia)

-Fayetteville State University School of Nursing (North Carolina)

-Florida State University College of Nursing (Florida)

-Loma Linda University School of Nursing (California)

-McKendree University Division of Nursing (Illinois)

-Tennessee Tech University Whitson-Hester School of Nursing (Tennessee)

-The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing (Alabama)

-University of Houston College of Nursing (Texas)

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Pennsylvania)

This article was originally posted on Missouri nursing school gets CDC grant to fight vaccine hesitancy

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