A new educational module, “Communicating about Vaccines — COVID-19 & More” was launched this month on the Vaccine Update website. The piece was developed by a team led by VEC visiting scientist, Angela Shen, ScD, MPH. Importantly for Vaccine Update readers, the module is free and can be viewed for continuing education credits.

The web-based interactive session offers a two-hour training divided into three parts:

  • Part 1: Details the dangers of COVID-19 disease, explains the U.S. system to authorize and approve vaccines, and highlights the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Part 2: Explores best practices in vaccine communication.
  • Part 3: Reviews key points, offers additional resources, and explains how to receive continuing education credit or a certificate of attendance.

Dr. Shen emphasized that the aim of the project was to provide material that was cross-cutting between disciplines and age groups. In a letter to colleagues, she wrote, “We developed this module for adult and pediatric providers, immunization champions, and community members. The module provides understanding of COVID-19 disease, how the vaccine approval process works, and how to communicate effectively about these topics. Ultimately, we want stakeholders and their constituents to have a solid, or reinforced, urgency regarding vaccination. The receipt of COVID-19 vaccine can do so much to protect people from COVID-19 complications.”

In honor of the release of “Communicating about Vaccines — COVID-19 & More,” we asked Dr. Shen to share some thoughts about her conception of this educational module with Vaccine Update readers:

There is so much information available about COVID-19 disease and COVID-19 vaccine. What was your thought behind creating this educational offering?
Historically, the public health and medical communities have provided facts and corrected misinformation about vaccines in the hope of changing people’s minds about vaccination. These science-based groups believed that simply by giving the right information, vaccine-hesitant people would change their minds and accept vaccination for themselves or their children, but this approach has not worked to address people’s needs. Healthcare personnel need to explore new ways to build vaccine confidence, as vaccine hesitancy is on the rise, amplified by the pandemic.

How does the module address the communication aspect of vaccine hesitancy?
There are deeply rooted reasons why people aren’t being vaccinated, including their attitudes, views, values, and other things, like social norms, that affect decision-making. As such, a broader social context and psychology around changing health behavior needs to be considered. In this module we highlight not just the facts, but also attitudes that lead to a trusting and caring relationship between healthcare personnel, patients and parents. While evidence-based approaches, such as a giving a “presumptive” introduction and motivational interviewing, are important, the module emphasizes that trust, compassion and respect are foundational. At the same time, in the module we acknowledge that it can be difficult to express our empathy for patients when we are, ourselves, exhausted and overwhelmed.

For whom was this module created?
Our hope is that the module is used by all sorts of healthcare personnel, both clinical and non-clinical. All of these people interact with patients, and every patient engagement is an important touchpoint for patient care. We hope they will find the module to be helpful and will share it widely with their colleagues and partners.

The module is on a unique platform. Why did you choose this platform?
We used Articulate Rise software because it’s ideal for adult learners. You can view the module online using a computer, tablet, or cell phone. It’s interactive and very visual, which makes the information stick with the learner. We all have time pressures, and this platform is concise and easy to use. Viewers can start, stop and go back at their convenience, so it’s great for those trying to sandwich learning between other responsibilities.

The module was developed by a team. What organizations participated?
The development of this module was very much a team effort. Two teams at CHOP (the Office of Community Engagement and Vaccine Education Center) partnered with colleagues from the Pennsylvania Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics; Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition; and Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Each group brought their expertise to the project, which really helped us create a terrific educational product.

Learn more or access the module at chop.edu/vaccine-online-learning. You can choose to complete the module for credit (CME or CNE; requires free registration) or not, using the buttons on the page.

If you have feedback or questions, please email the VEC at vacinfo@chop.edu using the subject line, “COVID-19 online modules.”

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.