building vaccine confidence | An initiative to strengthen public trust in vaccines | #BuildingVaxConfidence

University of Missouri

To increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence among students, the school of nursing developed the COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Certificate. This program was completed by undergraduate students enrolled in Nursing in Communities course and graduating DNP and PhD students at the University of Missouri, Lincoln University, and Central Methodist University nursing programs. Modules include COVID-19 vaccine development, safety, and efficacy; vaccine hesitancy; COVID-19 vaccine information vs. misinformation; motivational interviewing; and health communication and social media campaigns. Students who completed the certificate were encouraged to engage in COVID-19 vaccine confidence conversations in community settings. In addition, a subset of students enrolled in the Nursing in Communities course worked with a group of students from the School of Journalism. These students collaborated on messaging materials for the certificate and created a public health campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates and fight misinformation. Working together, the students created a targeted outreach campaign using a mix of social media, newspapers, television, and other advertising mediums. Communications also were made available to local public health departments and extension centers in the areas with a need.

View Project Website

Curriculum Resources and Learning Opportunities

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Certificate: The University of Missouri established a dedicated Canvas learning management system course site with 5 learning modules developed by content experts from the Sinclair School of Nursing and School of Journalism. Each module contained learning objectives, a mixture of short videos, evidence-based reading materials, and a brief quiz. Module topics include:
    • Vaccine hesitancy
    • COVID-19 vaccine development, safety, and efficacy
    • COVID-19 vaccine information vs. misinformation
    • Motivational Interviewing
    • Health communication and social media campaigns
  • Building COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Workshop and Simulation: The University of Missouri’s content experts developed and delivered a 3-hour, hands-on workshop. The workshop consisted of four short oral PowerPoint presentations by interdisciplinary experts followed by small group Motivational Interviewing simulation sessions with trained standardized patients using common COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy scenarios. Topics covered by experts included:
    • COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Latinx population
    • Vaccine hesitancy in rural populations
    • Misinformation and vaccine hesitancy
    • Vaccine hesitancy in incarcerated women
    • Vaccine conversations in Black/African American communities
    • Motivational Interviewing concepts
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Social Media Campaign for Vulnerable Populations: A subset of undergraduate students enrolled in the Nursing of Communities course collaborated with a group of strategic communication undergraduate students from the School of Journalism. Faculty with expertise in health communication and misinformation from the School of Journalism precepted this student group. Faculty worked with nursing and journalism students to create a public health campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates and fight misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Targeted and tailored messaging for select mid-Missouri, rural counties was created using a mix of social media, newspapers, radio, television, and/or out-of-home advertising. A social media guide was created for dissemination to local public health departments in Missouri.

Partnerships and Community Engagementstudents listening to presentation in classroom

  • The MU School of Journalism was an integral partner in this project. The school of nursing collaborated on the creation of educational modules for the COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Certificate modules and on media messaging and paid advertising. Students from both the School of Journalism and Sinclair School of Nursing worked together on projects as a result of this collaboration.
  •  The MU School of Medicine Shelden Clinical Simulation was a partner that, for a fee, provided standardized patient actors for our Building COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Workshop and Simulation. This relationship will continue in future semesters.
  • The Missouri Immunization Coalition agreed to partner with the school of nursing on this project. The media kits developed in collaboration with the MU School of Journalism have been provided to the Missouri Immunization Coalition for statewide dissemination to public health agencies and providers. This coalition is also a resource for healthcare professionals and the public in Missouri.
  • Department of Family & Community Medicine, MU School of Medicine: Dr. Kevin Everett provided one of the presentations about addressing vaccine hesitancy in rural populations via use of motivational interviewing for the Building COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Workshop and Simulation. He also provided opportunities for the undergraduate students to practice talking with community members about vaccine confidence during the 71ˢᵗ Annual Dogwood Festival in Camdenton, MO. His research coordinator, Zia Kelly, supervised the undergraduate student who attended the health fair table at the Dogwood Festival. Additionally, Zia assisted by sharing a summer themed health promotion flyer that included COVID-19 vaccine and booster recommendations which our students will be distributing.
  • Sigma Theta Tau, Alpha Iota Chapter: The Alpha Iota chapter of Sigma supported the school of nursing’s plan to reach nurses practicing in central Missouri, by focusing their Fall 2021 program on vaccine confidence. The Fall program was held on October 14, 2021, with a program title of: “Vaccine Hesitancy: Rumors, Trust, and Vaccines”. The program was presented via Zoom and was open to all chapter members, the nursing faculty and nursing students at Lincoln University School of Nursing in Jefferson City, MO and Central Methodist University Department of Nursing in Fayette, MO as well as nurses from MU Health Care.
  • University of Missouri Healthcare: The school of nursing created “badge buddies” with bullet points on the back on how to promote vaccine confidence and the #BuildingVaxConfidence logo on the other side. The school of nursing plans to distribute these badges to nurses employed at MU Healthcare.
  • University of Missouri Extension: As a land grant university, the University of Missouri has a presence in rural counties through Extension offices. Dr. Valerie Bader collaborated on this project as nursing faculty and an extension employee.


The initial press release from the MU News Bureau about the school of nursing’s project resulted in several local news stories that were picked up regionally, nationally, and internationally. Due to this publicity, the school of nursing established collaborations with the Missouri Immunization Coalition and Dr. Kevin Everett from the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the MU School of Medicine. In addition, the Building COVID-19 Confidence Workshop and Simulation Sessions were well-received by students because they were able to engage in motivational interviewing practice sessions with standardized patients. This project also provided a wonderful opportunity to include DNP and PhD students who are the future educators and leaders of the profession.

School at a Glance

Map of Missouri with a star marking Columbia

  • Location: Columbia, Missouri
  • School Type: Public University
  • Partners:
    • The MU School of Journalism
    • The Mu School of Medicine Shelden Clinical Simulation
    • The Missouri Immunzation Coalition
    • Department of Family & Community Medicine
    • Sigma Theta Tau, Alpha lota Chapter
    • University of Missouri Healthcare
    • University of Missouri Extension

  • Faculty Contact: Dr. Stefanie Birk