The good news that two vaccines for COVID-19 are now available has been tempered by the fact that a significant percentage of Americans are reluctant to be vaccinated. According to a December survey from the Pew Research Center, nearly 40% of Americans say they will definitely not or probably not get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
Hospitals are a trusted source of information and will play an important role in messaging about the safety and importance of COVID-19 vaccines.
Why are People Hesitant to Receive Covid-19 Vaccinations?
COVID-19 vaccines have been developed so quickly that many people don’t want to be “guinea pigs” for a new technology. Other factors that contribute to reluctance include:
- Skepticism about the vaccine development process
- Less personal concern about getting a serious case of COVID-19
- Doubts about vaccine safety and effectiveness
- Concern about financial resources or health insurance
Determine the Best Ways to Reach Your Target Audiences
Early COVID-19 vaccinations are available for health professionals and elderly people living in care settings. As such, they will soon be rolled out to larger numbers of people in high-risk groups and eventually the general public. Here are some suggestions for messaging:
- Use a multi-channel approach, especially when the general public starts to receive vaccinations.
- Distribute information on social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube); videos and podcasts are effective ways to provide vaccination information.
- Provide live sessions and virtual community town hall events to connect leadership, clinicians and experts to a wide audience.
- Create microsites to provide up-to-the-minute information.
- Utilize lower-tech communication channels (e.g., walking rounds and face-to-face talks with staff, printed materials).
- Use internal and external experts and influencers to deliver vaccine information.
Provide Simple Calls-to-Action for COVID-19 Vaccinations
The deBeaumont Foundation and the American Public Health Association recommend a careful balance of messaging educating the public about the necessity for universal COVID-19 vaccine coverage while avoiding any suggestion of coercion.
Here are some examples of simple messages:
- It is effective – Getting the vaccine will keep you and your family healthy.
- It is important – We need to get back to normal and reopen the economy.
- It is safe – Every study, every phase, and every trial was reviewed by the FDA and a review board.
It is also important to tailor the messages to your audiences (e.g., elderly, high-risk, or general population). Medicom Health is rolling out a new feature to allow you to create emails targeted to different groups at risk for COVID-19 taking your assessments on your website. You will be able to craft messages about the where and how to receive COVID-19 vaccinations based on age and other characteristics. For more information contact our Client Support Team.
COVID-19 Vaccination Resources
There are excellent resources available to help you develop your COVID-19 vaccination messaging strategy:
AHA (American Hospital Association)
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit
COVID-19 Vaccination Information for You and Your Family
COVID-19 Vaccination Information for Healthcare Professionals
WHO (World Health Organization)