UNITED STATES OF CARE HOSTS WEBINAR WITH KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION AND LEADING EXPERTS TO DISCUSS VACCINE CONFIDENCE, EQUITY AND INCREASING PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
(Washington, DC) – United States of Care hosted a webinar yesterday to discuss recent research on vaccine confidence and effective ways to communicate to the public about the vaccine, its distribution, and the need to get vaccinated. Presentations highlighted the “wait and see” populations unique concerns and motivations.
“During this critical phase of vaccine education and distribution, it’s especially important to help concerned people make their choice. Getting all the facts and weighing the information is truly what smart health decision-making looks like. We’re eager to help people along that path — and congratulate them when they make their choice,” said Natalie Davis, co-Founder, Managing Director, Public Engagement for United States of Care.
On the call, participants discussed recent data released by the Kaiser Family Foundation that examined adults who are considered “wait and see” for the vaccine, as well as how likely communities of color are to receive a vaccination.
Dr. Mollyann Brodie, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Executive Director of KFF’s Public Opinion and Survey Research Program said, “The three in ten adults who put themselves in the ‘wait and see’ group have real concerns and questions about the vaccine. If trusted messengers such as health care providers are the ones answering their real information needs, that many more people are likely to conclude that getting vaccinated is the right choice for themselves and their families.”
The webinar also featured Dr. Rhonda Medows, President of Population Health Management at Providence, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the United States, and CEO of Ayin Health Solutions. Also, Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, Founder and CEO of Grapevine Health, an Infectious disease physician, CDC-trained medical epidemiologist, and health activist. Medows and Fitzpatrick discussed the attitudes of communities of color toward the vaccine.
“Although, I may be a physician, I admit that even I started in the ‘hell no’ vaccine box and had to think long and hard about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Ultimately what led me to take the shots and advocate for others to do the same was that I was able to learn all the facts behind the vaccines’ development and saw firsthand the devastating toll that the pandemic has taken on Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Native communities,” said Dr. Rhonda Medows. “In my family alone, we’ve lost ten people to COVID-19, sadly that’s not at all unusual in communities of color.”
Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick added, “To continue moving people along the vaccine acceptance continuum, trusted, credible information about the vaccine must be delivered by credible messengers in places where Black Americans are consuming health information. Rather than perpetuating narratives about vaccine hesitancy, we should be focusing our energy and resources into ensuring the Black community has answers to lingering questions about the vaccine.”
All participants stressed that people’s concerns about the vaccine are real and they deserve empathetic, straightforward answers as they consider whether the vaccine is right for them. Understanding and addressing these concerns now, early in the national vaccination process, is key for overall equitable vaccine uptake and protecting the most vulnerable. United States of Care assembled studies and research findings in a newly released memo.
"There is no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing COVID-19 vaccine uptake. Inclusion is key, both with respect to messages and their sources. In order to ensure the best vaccination rates, we need to make an effort to understand what makes people concerned in the first place,” concluded Dr. Matt Motta, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Oklahoma State University.