UW Extension campaign seeks to boost COVID vaccination rates

(Statewide) – University of Wyoming Extension and Wyoming 2-1-1 have started a campaign that aims to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in Wyoming, called Vaccinate Up.

The campaign began with a national effort by the extension services at land-grant universities with a focus on at-risk populations, and includes Wyoming residents sharing their vaccination stories in a series of videos.

“The overall goal of the campaign nationally and our work locally is to create confidence in vaccination,” states states Kali McCrackin Goodenough from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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“We offer the facts and encourage Wyoming citizens to think about people they care about and how to protect them. The choice to vaccinate is a personal one, but one that has communal impacts.”

“Our work to increase confidence in COVID-19 vaccination is built on the Wyoming spirit of taking care of each other and protecting one another. This effort is from Wyoming, for Wyoming.”

“We are taking a broader approach to encourage everyone to consider vaccination as well as reach at-risk populations,” McCrackin Goodenough elaborates. “One of the themes that keeps coming up is that, in rural states like Wyoming, people are often more trusting of the voices in their own social circles than of mainstream media or other resources.”

The campaign also encourages people to use the hashtag #WyIVaxUp to share their stories through Facebook and other social media platforms.

“We are looking for real voices, real Wyoming people talking about why vaccination is important and how it made a difference in their lives,” she says.

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The campaign also includes working with Eastern Shoshone Tribal Health; creating a series of billboards; developing frequently asked questions sheets; and a youth campaign through Pandora, social media and web information.

A web-page for young people and their parents is also available.

About 34% of Wyoming residents were fully vaccinated as of August 9th, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).

McCrackin Goodenough says the UW Extension effort links to resources that already exist, such as the WDH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Wyoming 2-1-1.

Wyoming 2-1-1, in partnership with the WDH, houses the Wyoming COVID-19 Aging Network focused on maintaining the health of homebound elders in Wyoming.

Wyoming COVID-19 vaccine information and where vaccinations are being offered in Wyoming counties, testing sites and other COVID-19 information, such as travel and housing assistance, can be found here.

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