COVID-19 Vaccination

The spring of 2021 is shaping up to be a season like no other: the United States is wildly exceeding its own ambitious vaccination goals—some days administering more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccines a day—even as more transmissible virus variants are driving a fourth wave of cases. National experts including Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor, are describing the drive to vaccinate American adults like a horse race, with the pace of vaccinations racing against the spread of new variants.

Despite the highly publicized success of the vaccination effort, however, the stubborn problem of widespread vaccine hesitancy threatens to prolong the pandemic. Although the number of adults who don’t want to get the vaccine is falling, somewhere around a third of all US adults report they have no intention of taking any COVID-19 vaccine. The numbers are higher among young adults, women, Black adults, adults living in rural areas, and adults with lower education and income levels.[1] The reasons people are avoiding the vaccine range, but include:

  • Worries about side effects
  • Concerns its development was rushed
  • Mistrust of the government
  • Plans to use masks or other non-vaccine safety measures
  • Waiting to see if it’s safe
  • Afraid of needles[2]

Because of the extraordinary stakes in achieving herd immunity as quickly as possible, there is a wide-ranging effort among public health authorities, government agencies, hospital networks, and private companies to educate the public about the benefits of the vaccine.

Besides our own materials, other groups are promoting efforts to increase vaccination rates among specific populations. A few of these include:

V-safe, from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. This smartphone-based app uses text messaging and web surveys to help track vaccine side effects. Using this app, newly vaccinated people can easily report side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, making it easier for the CDC to follow up. You can find more information about V-safe at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.html.

The American Psychological Association has introduced a framework to help build community trust to improve vaccination rates and contact tracing. The document, called “Building Community Trust to Improve Participation in COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing,” can be located at: https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/equity-resources/building-community-trust.pdf.

The American Medical Association offers a free educational program on boosting vaccination rates and improving communication around vaccination through the StepsForward program. The team-based immunization learning module can be accessed at: https://edhub.ama-assn.org/steps-forward/module/2702553.

These efforts join the programs launched by hospital networks, state and local agencies, and public health entities across the country, all focused on a single goal: convincing Americans that taking the COVID-19 vaccine isn’t only good for society, but it can help prevent serious disease for themselves.

Here at The Wellness Network, we support these efforts by making our library of coronavirus patient education, including comprehensive education on the vaccines and their safety, freely available to any U.S. hospital. These videos and print materials can be easily distributed to any Internet-enabled device, either in a patient room or at the patient’s home. For more information on this program, please contact us.

Learn more about our educational offerings!

References

[1] Nguyen KH, Srivastav A, Razzaghi H, Williams W, Lindley MC, Jorgensen C, Abad N, Singleton JA. COVID-19 Vaccination Intent, Perceptions, and Reasons for Not Vaccinating Among Groups Prioritized for Early Vaccination – United States, September and December 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Feb 12;70(6):217-222. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7006e3. PMID: 33571174; PMCID: PMC7877585.

[2] Ibid.