April 6, 2021
With Missouri seeing hundreds of new COVID-19 cases each day, University of Missouri Extension and its partners are working to decrease these numbers as much as possible.
The MU Rural Vaccination Action Committee is composed of 15 individuals from MU Extension, the MU School of Medicine, MU School of Health Professions and MU Health Care. The committee is sharing influenza and COVID-19 information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to help keep MU Extension employees and the public up to date.
“There are some misconceptions that have been shared on social media, and we are focused on giving accurate COVID-19 information from the CDC and the science behind it,” said Chiquita Chanay, a community health outreach specialist with MU Extension. “We want to extend that information to communities so that we can increase the number of individuals who are vaccinated, not only to protect ourselves but others around us.”
Whether you’re from a rural area or large city, no one is immune to the virus. Chanay and fellow committee members stress that it is more important than ever to take the right precautions against COVID-19.
Committee member Kara Clovis said each community might have different needs.
“Coming from a small town, I know how hard it is to reach individuals who have been set in their ways forever,” Clovis said. “But continuing to provide education and sharing real-life stories will hopefully encourage them to take proper precautions. I think if we educated everyone on vaccinations and took away some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding vaccinations, the vaccination rate would be much higher.”
Referencing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and medical professionals, the Rural Vaccination Action Group recommends wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet from others, washing your hands and avoiding crowds as much as possible.
“I think that if we all took two or three consistent steps, we might be able to slow this virus down just a little bit,” Chanay said. “Making a sacrifice like putting others before ourselves can make a huge difference. I know we all want to socialize, but if we continue to stay at home, I think we can really get ahead of this thing.”