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Running Up Against Vaccine Hesitancy? Try These Strategies

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and extremely effective against severe disease and death from COVID. And yet, the CDC reports that as of August 1, close to 33% of the United States population eligible for vaccination has not received even their first dose.

Individuals have many reasons for vaccine hesitancy, with many different experiences with vaccines and the medical system contributing. Those reasons and experiences are important to take into account when communicating about the importance of the vaccine.

We have created a flowchart with examples of common vaccine-related concerns along with suggested strategies for addressing them.

Go With the Flowchart

As you work through the flowchart, imagine that an incarcerated individual or staff member has come to you with the comment in quotations. Think about how you might respond to the comment before reading the suggested answer strategy and “communication pearl” bubbles. Then reflect on how you can incorporate those ideas into your response. All the questions and suggested answers can be applicable to anyone, not just to the labeled headings.

These strategies – and the resources listed below – can also be used as a toolkit for planning more formal presentations or communication sessions in your facility.   

Feedback, Please!

Provide the researchers with feedback!

Take a one-minute survey about the usefulness of the vaccine strategy communication flowchart.

Take the survey at: https://tufts.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dbRRCL4GkcMmzzM

Christina Kraus is a medical student and Alysse Wurcel, MD, MS, is assistant professor in the department of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

For More Information

The Vaccine Misinformation Management Guide, produced by UNICEF, First Draft, Yale Institute for Global Health, and PGP

Communications Toolkit, National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM)

Ways Health Departments Can Help Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources, Vaccine Equity Cooperative

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