As a health care professional, you are a trusted advisor and influencer of vaccination decisions, and the public generally trusts public health bodies when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine information. A recommendation from a health care provider is one of the strongest determinants of vaccine acceptance.
However, dentists often underestimate the importance of their recommendations. A strong recommendation to get vaccinated, assuming the person is willing to be vaccinated, has been shown to increase uptake. If you include a question about COVID-19 vaccination to your patient intake, it provides advance information and allows you to address it with the patient at the visit.
For example: "I can see from today's intake form that you have not received your COVID-19 vaccine."
Such announcements signal your confidence in the vaccine and help establish vaccination as the norm. This is more effective at increasing uptake than more hesitant language (such as "What do you think about getting the COVID-19 vaccine today?").
The COVID-19 vaccine is being made available on a phased basis that is determined by health professionals, community groups and stakeholders and according to identified urgent-need groups and vaccine supply levels.
All individuals, including those who have been vaccinated, should keep wearing masks, washing their hands and practicing social distance until we bring an end to the pandemic.
Following the 5Ws is the best way to protect others and help bring an end to the pandemic:
Now more than ever, everyone's actions can make a measurable difference in getting all of us through the pandemic. The best thing each of us can do is to not let our guard down.
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