COVID Vaccines – Patient Experience + Hesitancy

Every week, we get closer and closer to the day when the COVID vaccine will be available to the general population. When that day arrives, will the healthcare system be ready? Will the population be ready?

A Logistics Challenge

The most critical vaccine challenge is logistics. Not only do you have to get the vaccine to vaccination centers across the country, but you also must ensure those centers are properly staffed and sanitized. A lot of pieces have to come together for things to run smoothly.

I feel confident that local health authorities, governments and healthcare organizations will solve the logistics puzzle. There will undoubtedly be bumps in the early stages, but eventually things will run smoother.

Overall Vaccination Experience

I am less confident there will be a focus on the overall experience of being vaccinated. Will people be able to see the wait times BEFORE heading off to a vaccination center? Will there be clear communication of who can/can’t be vaccinated? Who should you contact if you are feeling ill after being vaccinated?

Personally, this is my ideal COVID vaccination experience:

  • I go to the vaccination center website to pre-register and choose an available vaccination appointment time
  • I get a QR code or some other appointment ID that I can bring with me to my appointment
  • I get clear instructions on where I should go, how I need to check in and numbers I can call if I have questions or concerns about the vaccine
  • When I drive up to the vaccination center, I head to the line for pre-booked appointments
  • I check in by scanning my QR code and showing my ID to the intake person
  • I join the line of cars/people
  • While I wait, I can see a large billboard of the appointment # they are currently serving and it slowly clicks upwards to my number
  • When it’s my turn I go up, get my vaccine and they email me all the relevant documentation, especially who I am to contact should I not feel well afterwards

What’s your ideal vaccine experience?

Vaccine Hesitancy

My ideal vaccination experience skips over one critical area – I’m already convinced that it is a good idea to get the vaccine. That isn’t true for everyone in the community. There are many who are hesitant to get the COVID vaccine.

Some are concerned because they have underlying conditions (like cancer, COPD, etc). Others may be concerned because they are on other medications which may or may not interfere with the vaccine. A person in this situation will want to speak to someone to ask questions before setting an appointment to be vaccinated. But who should they call? Their doctor? What if they don’t have one?

Others in the community may be hesitant to get the vaccine because of misinformation – and that is truly unfortunate.

Late last year both Facebook and Twitter committed to removing debunked COVID-19 vaccine posts from their platforms. Here is what Twitter said in their announcement: “Starting next week, we will prioritize the removal of the most harmful misleading information, and during the coming weeks, begin to label Tweets that contain potentially misleading information about the vaccines. In the context of a global pandemic, vaccine misinformation presents a significant and growing public health challenge — and we all have a role to play. We are focused on mitigating misleading information that presents the biggest potential harm to people’s health and wellbeing. Twitter has an important role to play as a place for good faith public debate and discussion around these critical public health matters.”

I applaud what both companies are trying to do. Saying you don’t believe in the vaccine is one thing. Spreading false and misleading information about the vaccine is quite another. These new policies by Facebook and Twitter will not stop the spread of false information, but it will certainly slow it down.

Other organizations are also trying to help fight vaccine misinformation. WebMD has started a special page where they are tracking COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Healthcare providers like Johns Hopkins have published articles on their websites to help educate the public on vaccine facts and myths.

HCLDR Chat

Join us on Tuesday January 19th at 8:30pm EST (for your local time click here) when we will be discussing the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • T1 Should patient experience even be a consideration for COVID-19 vaccinations or is focusing on the logistics enough?
  • T2 What does your ideal COVID vaccination experience look like?
  • T3 Where do you turn for trusted information about COVID-19 and the vaccine? How would you convince a friend to go to those same sources?
  • T4 What more can be done to combat COVID vaccine hesitancy and misinformation?

Resources

Browne, Ryan. “Facebook to remove misinformation about Covid vaccines”, CNBC, 3 December 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/03/facebook-to-remove-misinformation-about-coronavirus-vaccines.html, accessed 17 January 2020

Maragakis, Lisa Lockerd and Kelen, Gabor David. “COVID-19 Vaccines: Myth Versus Fact”, Johns Hopkins Medicine, 13 January 2021, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/is-the-covid19-vaccine-safe, accessed 17 January 2021

Maragakis, Lisa Lockerd and Kelen, Gabor David. “Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?”, Johns Hopkins Medicine, 8 January 2021, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/is-the-covid19-vaccine-safe, accessed 17 January 2021

“Building Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines Among Your Patients”, CDC, December 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/VaccinateWConfidence-TipsForHCTeams_508.pdf, accessed 17 January 2021

Dodd, Rachael, et al. “Concerns and motivations about COVID-19 vaccination”, The Lancet, 15 December 2020, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30926-9/fulltext, accessed 17 January 2021

Wolfson, Bernard J. “COVID Vaccines Appear Safe and Effective, but Key Questions Remain”, KHN News, 23 December 2020, https://khn.org/news/article/covid-vaccines-appear-safe-and-effective-but-key-questions-remain/, accessed 17 January 2021

“Ongoing Coverage: COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation”, WebMD, 14 January 2021, https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20210114/ongoing-coverage-covid19-vaccine-misinformation, accessed 17 January 2021

“Misinformation Spread By Anti-Science Groups Endangers COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts”, NPR, 24 December 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/12/24/950102024/misinformation-spread-by-anti-science-groups-endangers-covid-19-vaccination-effo, accessed 17 January 2021

Bond, Shannon. “’The Perfect Storm’: How Vaccine Misinformation Spread To The Mainstream”, NPR, 10 December 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/12/10/944408988/the-perfect-storm-how-coronavirus-spread-vaccine-misinformation-to-the-mainstrea, accessed 17 January 2021

“AMA urges social media companies to combat vaccine misinformation”, American Medical Association, 21 December 2020, https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/ama-urges-social-media-companies-combat-vaccine-misinformation, accessed 17 January 2021

Beckett, Lois. “Misinformation ‘superspreaders’: Covid vaccine falsehoods still thriving on Facebook and Instagram”, The Guardian, 6 January 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/06/facebook-instagram-urged-fight-deluge-anti-covid-vaccine-falsehoods, accessed 17 January 2021

“COVID-19: Our approach to misleading vaccine information”, Twitter, 16 December 2020, https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/covid19-vaccine.html, accessed 17 January 2021

Rothwell, Jonathan and Desai, Sonal. “How misinformation is distorting COVID policies and behaviors”, Brookings Institute, 22 December 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/research/how-misinformation-is-distorting-covid-policies-and-behaviors/, accessed 17 January 2021

McGee, Lindy U and Suh, Jinny. “Communication Strategies to Address Vaccine Hesitancy in Healthcare Settings and on Social Media”, Journal of Applied Research on Children, 20019, https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1397&context=childrenatrisk, accessed 17 January 2021

Dube, E. “Addressing vaccine hesitancy: the crucial role of healthcare providers”, Clinical Microbiology and Infection, May 2017, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1198743X16305626m, accessed 17 January 2021

Williamson, Laura and Glaab, Hannah. “Addressing vaccine hesitancy requires an ethically consistent health strategy”, BMC Medical Ethics, 24 October 2018, https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-018-0322-1, accessed 17 January 2021

Shen SC, Dubey V. “Addressing vaccine hesitancy: Clinical guidance for primary care physicians working with parents” Can Fam Physician, March 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6515949/, accessed 17 January 2021

Brown, Marie T, et al. “Resolving Patients’ Vaccination Uncertainty: Going From “No Thanks!” to “Of Course!”, Family Practice Management, March 2014, https://www.aafp.org/fpm/2014/0300/p22.html, accessed 17 January 2021

“Preparing for a positive Experience”, ImmunizeBC, 24 March 2020, https://immunizebc.ca/preparing-positive-experience, accessed 17 January 2021

Holt, D et al. “The importance of the patient voice in vaccination and vaccine safety—are we listening?”, Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 6 December 2016, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1198743X16304591, accessed 17 January 2021

Image Credit

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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