The USDA says that land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System will step up educational efforts to improve COVID vaccine confidence in rural America. The announcement comes as the Centers for Disease Control says that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks for most outdoor and indoor activities.
The new educational effort will use a $9.95 million CDC grant given to the Ag Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “Cooperative Extension agents are recognized and trusted messengers in their communities and can help deliver fact-based information on the COVID-19 vaccine and other adult vaccines,” says Jay Butler, CDC deputy director for infectious diseases. NIFA Director Carrie Castille says, “Cooperative Extension has a century of experience as change agents and educators in communities across America. NIFA is proud to be the federal partner with such a trusted education resource, but especially in this effort to deliver science-based vaccine education.” The Hagstrom Report says a “Facts Not Fear” website, developed by Extension staff, contains a curated collection of culturally appropriate resources from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins, and USDA.