To help increase public confidence in being vaccinated against COVID-19, Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health care innovation at the Brigham and Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, has released the COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Toolkit.
The toolkit — available in a free download — is designed to support primary care and other medical providers and practices when having conversations with patients who express concern or have questions about being vaccinated. It contains a step-by-step conversation guide and a patient-oriented handout that addresses the most common concerns about the vaccine.
The toolkit was developed by an Ariadne Labs team after careful research on the most recent medical information available, with direct feedback from health care providers and patients. It was designed with equity and accessibility as key priorities to empower primary care providers and practices to have respectful and science-based conversations with a diverse population of patients.
“With tools drawing from motivational interviewing, we hope that it will help providers listen to patients and guide their decision-making,” said Ariadne Labs Chief Medical Officer Evan Benjamin, MD, MS, FACP.
The toolkit is designed to help primary care providers be effective in their role as “trusted messengers.”
About 75 percent of adults across different racial and ethnic groups, including Latino (64 percent), Black (71 percent), and Asian (74 percent), have a primary care provider and a majority of all groups said they would be “very likely” to get vaccinated at their own doctor’s office.
Vaccination is the most reliable way to bring the pandemic under control. While a recent survey shows about 56 percent of the American population has been vaccinated and another 9 percent intends to do so, about 6 percent of those surveyed say they will only be vaccinated “if required” and another 13 percent said they would “definitely not get it.” About 15 percent expressed a “wait and see” attitude.
Such reluctance could prolong the pandemic, said Benjamin. Reluctance about the vaccine is found across race, geography, gender, and political affiliation, although specific questions and concerns can vary across population groups, he noted.
“No single message or public figure will reach everyone. Trusted messengers can individually deliver evidence-based information with conversations that emphasize empathy, credibility and clarity,” Benjamin said.
The conversation guide provides a framework for providers to structure a discussion in which patients can express their concerns, ask questions and receive evidence-based information delivered in easy-to-understand terms. “The goal is to be empathetic and not shame people for feeling unsure or having questions. Our research tells us that health care providers should be communicating that the vaccines work, they are safe, and they are backed by science,” Benjamin said.