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?”).
Empathy is key to interacting with those who may be vaccine hesitant or skeptical.
Utilize a pivot approach to divert the listener to consider the concerns about the risks of the disease.
Messages will be received differently by different groups. An understanding of the targeted audiences’ concerns and motivations will drive the communication.
Recognizing the fluidity of the situation and monitoring of the research is key to appropriate messaging.
Communicate what is known, unknown and what should be done. Employ postvaccination surveillance to identify rare adverse outcomes that may be vaccine related.
See note above about dentists’ role in messaging.
Making vaccine uptake visible will encourage a social norming of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance.
Use of thought leaders, community champions and celebrities can encourage the public to get vaccinated.
Note the public experience in the provision of the vaccine and ensure it’s positive (e.g., clean clinic sites, manageable wait times, easily accessible online sign-up portals).
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.
One approach (primarily used for social media):
My “why” for COVID vaccination (e.g. safety, family, economic, etc.)
Sign up at myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255 and schedule your appointment or get notified when appointments are available in your area.
COVID-19 vaccines, including their administration, are free.
This resource was funded by CDPH/OOH Contract #20-10886
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