Fewer people are getting the COVID-19 vaccine in southwest Missouri. And area public health departments hope to increase the number of people who are getting their shots through a new initiative.
Cara Erwin, spokesperson for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said they’re working with other health departments in the 417 region on the initiative, called Vaccine Champions.
"The Vaccine Champions program is essentially creating a community of folks who are exactly that--they're vaccine champions," said Erwin. "They're people who have been vaccinated and feel strongly...based in science that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks of getting COVID or spreading COVID."
Anyone can become a Vaccine Champion, according to Erwin. Those who join the initiative will work to address vaccine hesitancy by helping others find answers to their questions and concerns.
"And so we're hoping that people will be enpowered to talk to their friends, family members, church members, neighbors," said Erwin.
Vaccine champions will be given access to online community support and resources. For example, a webinar called “How to Talk to others about the Vaccine” will be held Wednesday morning (5/5) at 11.
The health department has a goal of 50 percent of Greene County residents being fully vaccinated by the end of this month. That’s one threshold that must be met in order for the City of Springfield to remove all restrictions that were put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of Monday morning, 32.32 percent of Greene County residents 16 and older were fully vaccinated.
View the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Dashboard here.