CHICAGO — The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced a Vaccine Ambassador Course that provides free online training to educate people to become trusted vaccine education ambassadors in their communities. Community members can complete the two-hour online Vaccine Ambassador Course (VAC) at no cost. It is offered through the Malcolm X College Continuing Education Department in English and Spanish.
“There is so much information out there about the COVID-19 vaccine, we thought it imperative to help people separate fact from fiction,” said David Sanders, President of Malcolm X College. “We are launching the Vaccine Ambassador Course to educate people and address the mistrust and vaccine hesitancy that exists in many areas. People are more likely to listen to their friends and neighbors and that is why developing a local ambassador program is so important. We are providing Vaccine Ambassadors with vaccine education so they can share the facts and save lives. Ambassadors will help educate and ease concerns. This work is vital to the community and our country.”
In the course, students will learn:
- Background on COVID-19 and the United States of America healthcare system
- History of mistrust and the root causes of vaccine hesitancy
- Answers to the most frequently asked COVID-19 vaccine questions
- How to approach difficult vaccine conversations
“When it comes to discussions about COVID-19 and vaccines, Chicagoans trust those they know best more than any celebrity or outside authorities,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “We depend upon our community ambassadors to speak honestly with their neighbors, families, and friends about the virus and how to fight it. There is so much misinformation out there, and some people are reluctant and just want their concerns addressed. They may not necessarily be opposed to getting the COVID vaccine, but they have questions and don’t know who to trust. These ambassadors are a vital link in getting the facts out there and helping their own communities fight COVID.”
Chicago community members who complete this course will receive a certificate of completion and be recognized as trusted messengers of COVID-19 vaccine education. Upon completion, Partners In Health
will provide these trusted messengers access to an online learning community where they will have opportunities to connect with other Vaccine Ambassadors and receive support through additional training, and stay involved in community health activities. For more information and to sign-up for the free two-hour online class visit, www.ccc.edu/vaccineambassador
“The more quickly we are all vaccinated the sooner we can move forward as a city and a region. When there's an opportunity for everyone to go out and get the vaccine, they should definitely get it,” said Carlos Millan, a Contact Tracer Supervisor and now Vaccine Ambassador.
“The Contact Tracers from 31 community-based organizations effort from the Chitracing Chicago COVID Contact Tracing Corps will be some of the first individuals to complete this training as part of their growing skillset to respond at every level of the pandemic,” said Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership.) “We are proud that some of Chicago’s COVID Contact Tracing Corps members will be among the first to become ambassadors. The 600-strong Corps members continue to perform a variety of roles to fight the pandemic and this volunteer ambassador program is a natural extension of this work.”
The course was developed by faculty from the MXC Health Science and Career Programs department, who also collaborated with Rush University Medical Center’s interprofessional Community Health Worker Hub to bring various voices to the course content and videos.
The Chicago Department of Public Health is leading the effort for the City’s COVID-19 vaccine education and distribution. As part of their commitment to disseminating facts and easing concerns they brought together Malcolm X College and Partners in Health to develop the Vaccine Ambassador Program.
Malcolm X College, one of seven City Colleges of Chicago, works closely with officials to train Contact Tracers and now has developed VAC to empower our communities. The College serves with urgency as a catalyst for social change and economic growth in the Chicago community. For more information on all of CCC’s offerings, visit www.ccc.edu
Partners In Health coordinates the Chicagoland Vaccine Partnership, a collaboration of more than 100 organizations dedicated to building a healthier, more resilient Chicago. This coalition works to ensure equitable access to critical information about COVID-19 vaccines and mobilizes community members to lead transformative public health efforts.