CHICAGO (CBS) — The pace of people getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is slowing in Illinois and across the U.S.

So how do we pick it up? Well, you can go back to school with the City Colleges of Chicago. CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas took their new vaccine ambassador course.

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This new course is completely free and completely online. The goal is to educate people on how to talk about the vaccine and maybe convince their neighbors or family to get the shot.

First, the class uses animated videos and graphics to lay out the basics. One key focus is on Black and Latinx communities, as city data show a lower vaccination rate for those demographics.

The course explains that is in part due to mistrust in the healthcare system stemming from historic abuse.

The videos offer examples of how to talk about that mistrust without challenging or insulting someone who is hesitant.

“I understand that has been a lot of misconception about the vaccination and how it maybe has some ties to something like the Tuskegee Experiment,” one participant says in the video. “But myself and my entire family has been vaccinated, and we are all doing just fine.”

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From there, the course lays out the research that went into the vaccines – and the trials involving tens of thousands of people.
It’s a two-hour course, we so took a break to talk to Malcom X College President David Sanders.

“Hopefully through these conversations that they have they’re able to help people to make educated decisions about what’s best for their lives,” Sanders said.

Sanders said one important lesson is to find common ground and explain to people that getting the vaccine won’t just help them, but it will help their neighbors and family.

“We all want to be able to see our family and friends and have cookouts and do all those fun things that the city of Chicago allows you to do,” Sanders said.

You’ll be quizzed nine times throughout the course. If you can pass all of those, you’ll get a certificate of completion.

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The city’s contact tracers are also taking that course, as much of their work now also includes talking to people about vaccines. If you’d like to take it yourself, click here.

Tim McNicholas