BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on Wednesday announced a free virtual course to train a cohort of what they call “vaccine ambassadors” to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

It’s the latest offering from the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Training Initiative, which launched in May 2020. The initiative offers expertise and guidance from the school and other experts to bolster pandemic response.

READ MORE: Baltimore Woman Charged With Attempted Murder For Driving Toward Officers, Crashing Into Cruiser In Walmart Parking Lot, Police Say

The course includes video explainers and lessons on how to engage in constructive conversations using reliable sources of information about the vaccines.

The university said parents, teachers and other school staff have expressed interest in learning how to engage in conversations about vaccine hesitancy with their families and communities. The course, the school said, is designed to teach adults how to have respectful and empathetic conversations with those who are hesitant to vaccinate their children.

READ MORE: Hogan Calls On Franchot To 'Halt Or Minimalize' Pending Gas Tax Increase

The course comes as pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen nationwide and in Maryland.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 672 children age 17 and under were admitted to hospitals every day with COVID-19 during the week ending Sunday, January 2—the highest such number of the pandemic,” the school said. “These numbers underscore the urgency to get eligible children across the country vaccinated and boosted now.”

Funding from the courses came from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions.

MORE NEWS: 2 Marylanders Face Federal Charges For Impersonating Deputy US Marshals

“When it comes to COVID-19 vaccination, it’s important that parents, educators, and school staff are equipped with the knowledge to make healthy decisions for their own families and to encourage others in their communities to do the same,” said Sara Johnson, PhD, MPH, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

CBS Baltimore Staff