July 6, 2021 Madison, WI – Since starting COVID-19 vaccine education in April of 2021, Literacy Network helped increased vaccination rates among its target population from 26 to nearly 80 percent. With the support of a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Literacy Network’s community outreach efforts have resulted in a higher vaccination rate than the average for Dane County. The program reached hundreds of community members, helping to improve vaccination rates among adults of color.
An April survey of adult learners in Literacy Network programs showed learners were accessing COVID-19 vaccines at a rate 11 percent lower than that of the overall population of Dane County (26% vs 37-38%). Twenty-five percent of surveyed students also reported either hesitance or unwillingness to be vaccinated.
In response to this need, Literacy Network developed a multipronged approach to increase vaccination rates. This included designing and implementing vaccine lesson plans, creating social media posts with accessible, accurate vaccine information, and hosting two vaccine clinics in partnership with Fitchburg Community Pharmacy. As of the second week of June, Literacy Network learners were accessing the vaccine at a rate of 78%, which was 12% higher than the Dane County average. Fewer than 11% of those surveyed were unwilling or uncertain about vaccination.
“Students across all of my classes were very engaged with the vaccine lessons, asked a lot of insightful questions in class, and shared their own stories very candidly. I think it says so much that when students get one of their vaccine shots, many of them proudly announce it in class!” said ESL Instructor Marie Simpson. “I think our lessons—delivered by trusted teachers and tutors—helped students feel comfortable making a decision about the vaccine.”
Literacy Network will continue its vaccination education efforts in the coming months.
About Literacy Network
Literacy Network is a non-profit organization working to improve adult literacy in Dane County. Its programs teach reading, writing, communication, and computer skills to adults so they can achieve financial security, well-being, and deeper engagement with their families and the community.
701 Dane Street, Madison, WI 53713