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Countering COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

With news of so many folks having trouble getting a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, it might be hard to believe that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is a real thing.

Tragically, it is…

Countering COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy

So what do we do about it?

I got vaccinated as soon as I was able to find a dose. And I have had no side effects!
I got vaccinated as soon as I was able to find a dose. And I have had no side effects!

For one thing, we can highlight all of the folks who are very thankful and excited that they have been able to get vaccinated and protected already!

Folks who understand that our COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, with few risks, (after all, they have been tested on tens of thousands of people) and are our best shot at ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patricia, with an unexplained skin condition, was in the clinical trial, but did not actually get the COVID-19 vaccine, so this could not have been “a severe allergic response to the medley of toxins in the vaccine.”
Patricia, with an unexplained skin condition, was in the clinical trial, but did not actually get the COVID-19 vaccine, so this could not have been “a severe allergic response to the medley of toxins in the vaccine.”

We can also bust myths and push back on misinformation and propaganda about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines that are used to scare people away from getting vaccinated and protected.

But mostly we need to understand why these people might not want to get vaccinated.

  • Are they against all vaccines?
  • Do they support most vaccines, but are just hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccines?
  • If it is just the COVID-19 vaccines, what is keeping them from getting vaccinated and protected?

Unfortunately, that last step often gets overlooked, as anyone who appears hesitant to get a vaccine is quickly labeled as being anti-vaccine. When that happens, some health care providers might get frustrated and move into a defensive mode, believing it is a direct personal attack on their training and experience. Or the patient or parent might get frustrated or angry if they don’t think their concerns are being addressed. Either way, the end result is typically the same – someone isn’t getting vaccinated…

Of course, there are better ways to help encourage everyone to get vaccinated and protected.

We can all learn better ways to reinforce and boost vaccine confidence.
We can all learn better ways to reinforce and boost vaccine confidence.

There are better ways to counter vaccine hesitancy.

Regrettably, as much as we do learn about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, many health care providers do not learn how to talk about vaccines as well as they should. At least not in a way that helps them with folks who are vaccine hesitant or on-the-fence about one or more vaccines.

Countering vaccine hesitancy is not all about busting myths and fact checking misinformation or talking about mandates.
Countering vaccine hesitancy is not all about busting myths and fact checking misinformation or talking about mandates.

That has to change now.

Effective messaging offers details and helps you change the mind of folks who are vaccine-hesitant.
Effective messaging offers details and helps you change the mind of folks who are vaccine-hesitant.

It’s up to you if you want to learn how to do it and help to get your patients and your community vaccinated and protected.

“Currently (as of December 2020), critical content for COVID-19 vaccination messages should include assurance of vaccine safety and efficacy, evidence that the benefits of vaccination (i.e., protection from the virus) outweigh the risks, and a focus on the collective benefits of high vaccination coverage.”

COVID-19 Vaccination Communication: Applying Behavioral and Social Science to Address Vaccine Hesitancy and Foster Vaccine Confidence

Remember, this is our shot to end the pandemic.

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