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GRHIC Selected to Guide COVID-19 and Flu Vaccine Hesitancy Study for Second Year

The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center (GRHIC) has been awarded a $53,756 contract by the North Central Health District (NCHD), Georgia Department of Public Health, for the second year. The project team led by Dr. Kimberly N. Carr, community resource and assessment specialist, consists of Edson Jean-Jacques, director of demographic research, and Dr. Brad Lian, associate professor, Department of Community Medicine at the Mercer University School of Medicine.

Dr. Carr and the team will focus on equipping influential, community messengers (e.g., community health ambassadors) with vaccine education, awareness, and messaging and provide research dissemination strategies, trainings, and workshops via the Hancock County Community Health Ambassadorship Program (H-CHAMP).  H-CHAMP was designed collaboratively with NCHD in the first year of the contract. Additionally, the team will evaluate the existing Hancock Health Improvement Partnership (HHIP)/REACH Faith-Based Organization, COVID-19/Flu mini-grant vaccine awareness program. The target population is African American adults. The contract period began October 1, 2022 and will end September 2023.

This work builds off the previous contract with NCHD titled, “COVID-19 and Flu Vaccine Hesitancy Needs Assessment in Hancock County,” completed by an interdisciplinary team from the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center and Mercer University School of Medicine. The project was implemented between May 2021 and August 2022 and was focused on assessing COVID-19 and flu vaccine hesitancy among African American adults in Hancock County. Overall, 426 community surveys, 14 focus groups, and eight key informant interviews were collected. Findings indicated that fear, misinformation circulating among social media, personal experiences, and historical medical mistrust were reasons for hesitancy. Also, faith leaders and health care workers were the most trusted messengers within the community, although there were varying opinions about the influence of faith leaders (i.e., pastors) to promote vaccinations. Protecting others was a strong motivating factor for vaccination.

For more information about the initial Hancock Needs Assessment focused on COVID-19 and flu vaccine hesitancy, please click here.