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vaccine, SARS-CoV-2, scientific literacy, vaccine hesitancy, public education, misinformation, online, science communication


At the onset of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it was clear that we needed to support public education on the science of vaccines. This project was born of that need and led to the development of comprehensive educational materials that addressed the process of science, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 biology, vaccine development, and science communication and outreach. Called the “Online Vaccine Science Resources for COVID-19 Education,” the materials generated were designed to be implemented by educators and community groups in various contexts. They took the form of four modules and general audience informational videos available on a YouTube channel. Each module was assembled as a toolkit with instructional videos, assessments, discussion questions, assignments, synthesis activities, and guides for constructing infographics and dual poster (science and general public audience) presentations. The materials were piloted and tested in various educational settings, including 2-year and 4-year colleges. Data gathered from surveys of faculty and student participants suggested that exposure to the materials promoted student trust in vaccination and the scientific process of vaccine development, and increased the likelihood of their getting a freely available vaccine. Assessment data indicated that the materials were successful in helping students achieve the learning objectives for the modules. Our results underscored the continued need for science education strategies that address the critical problem of vaccine hesitancy as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Originally published as:

Smyth, Davida S., Trace Jordan, Robert Seiser, Meghan Moran, Ulla Hasager, Sheryl Sorby, Nathan Kahl, Amy Shachter, and Karen Oates. "Promoting RAPID Vaccine Science Education at the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic." Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (2023): e00051-23. Copyright © 2023 Smyth et al. this is a open-access artilce distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

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