From the President: Clinicians are key in boosting vaccine acceptanceCategories: President’s Message Comments: comments
North Carolina is now vaccinating all adults at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, including all essential workers, and is expected to open vaccination to all adults by May. I'm glad to say that our state has gotten very efficient at deploying the doses of COVID-19 vaccine it receives, which bodes well for those North Carolina residents who are still waiting for their turn to get inoculated. The only thing keeping North Carolina from moving even faster is vaccine supply.
Well, it’s not quite the only thing. One of the biggest challenges facing our state in terms of protecting residents from COVID-19 is resistance to getting vaccinated. People may feel reluctant about the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons.
This is where, I believe, clinicians can really help our state achieve its goal of inoculating the maximum number of patients eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. NC DHHS commissioned research to determine who patients trust the most to answer their questions about the new vaccine. Overwhelmingly, patients responded that the person they trust most on this topic is their own medical provider (or providers). That’s you, and me.
I’d like to ask that licensees who provide patient care consider the positive impact each of you could have simply by asking each of the patients you see on a daily basis if they plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine. If so, do they have an appointment or a plan to get one? If not, why not? Although we certainly must respect every individual’s right to choose what they feel is best for them, our goal should be to ensure that their decisions are based on fact, and not fear or misinformation. A trusted clinician’s simple acts of expressing confidence in the vaccine and encouraging patients to get it may go a long way to help patients decide to get protected.
I encourage you to arm yourself with information, so you are prepared to address your patients’ questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. A good place to start is NC DHHS’s COVID-19 vaccine page, www.yourspotyourshot.nc.gov. You may find the FAQs section especially useful in helping to address patients’ questions.
Thank you for all you are doing to support patients and communities.