How doctors and hospitals can help defeat the COVID-19 vaccine resistance and misinformation

By Stewart Gandalf
Chief Executive Officer

There has been a recent surge in national optimism that says – maybe – we’ve been cornered in the epidemic. Yes, it has been a difficult year for almost everyone, but miraculous vaccinations and declining mortality rates have given rise to new optimism.

COVID-19 Public Education Campaign by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But wait – unfortunately, the COVID epidemic is not over. Epidemic fatigue, misinformation, rapid state reopening, increasing travel and even politics all contribute to premature abandonment. Safety measures, Including wearing a mask and social distance.

As a result, new Coronavirus mutation, Including the UK version (B.1.1.7) is catching up in the US and progress is in danger of slowing down. The recent nationwide outbreak is so worrying that last week the CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky We were asked to “grab a few berries to get vaccinated when you can.”

While Dr. Anthony Fookie Not predicting a fourth wave like the previous three, he said, “It’s a kind of race between a race of prospects and the ability of us to vaccinate as many people as possible.” Politicians and experts today agree that “Vaccine The high percentage of the population against COVID-19 is an important part of the US strategy to prevent the epidemic. “

Prevent looming vaccine resistance

Experts warn that vaccine resistance is now a significant challenge between today and ‘next normal’. Accordingly New England Journal of Medicine“The potential for the vaccine to interfere with the transmission of the potential American covido 1 … also depends on the willingness of a large proportion of the public to be vaccinated.

According to the latest survey, between 2 %% And % 0% Americans still say they probably won’t get the vaccine. Therefore the current demand for vaccines is greater than the supply, at a rate Millions of shots per day, That equation soon reverses itself.

The anti-vaccine movement is widespread and complex. As of March 2021 NPR / PBS / Marist According to the survey, demographic groups who offered would refuse to be vaccinated if offered %% Republican men, white 34% white non-college graduates, Latin 37% Latins, 37% younger areas 37%, living in rural areas of 36%, Of 34% males and 2 %% females.

A Kaiser Health News A poll a few weeks later showed some more optimistic data, but found that about 0% of Republicans and white evangelical Christians said they would “definitely” not take a shot. Accordingly Robert J. Blendon“We’ve never seen an epidemic that was politically polarized,” said Harvard health policy scholar.

Behind politics, there are many reasons why people say they will go “Certainly not.” Get vaccinated. ”

Chart of reasons why American adults should not be vaccinated.

In the end, there remains one COVID antivaxxer avalanche of misinformation On social media, many of which can only be found for twelve people.

Continued vaccine resistance can solve the problem of epidemics as soon as possible. “Opponents are making it difficult to achieve this “Herd Immunity,” The point at which the virus cannot find new hosts to infect. Then the plague will end. 70% and 85% of the population should be vaccinated against coronavirus. “

Why healthcare professionals are critical to answering resistance issues

While the public generally believes only in information provided by elected officials, government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, and medical scientists, doctors are extraordinarily confident. (NEJM) In fact, according to a recent NPR / Ipsos survey, Of 85% of Americans believe in their personal doctor.

From a practical perspective and a marketing POV, doctors, hospitals, and other providers are well versed in educating patients on COVID-19 vaccines. They are especially ideal for communicating effective and persuasive responses to the “resistance challenge”.

What’s more, should excessive objections be made nationwide – and federal voices distrusted – it’s important for the person to hear the vaccine message from their local and trusted physician. Other reasons include:

  • Throughout this epidemic, healthcare providers have become known as the first line of defense and frontline heroes.
  • Providers and hospitals have the most significant impact on individuals and respect in the community.
  • Frontline healthcare providers represent official information
  • Closer to the doctor-patient connection, there is a basis for personal trust.
  • Doctors, hospitals and health workers are well informed and have access to current and accurate information.
  • The supplier-patient relationship is often well established; Relationships, empathy, support and trust are created over time.

Of NEJM Patients agree on the inverse benefits of communication. “We believe that there is a great potential for public interest in getting the covid vaccine, but effective public education and communication are needed to maximize population growth so quickly,” he said.

“We also believe that clinicians, rather than pharmaceutical companies, political leaders or medical scientists, should be at the forefront of education and outreach strategies. Having clinicians in messaging is especially important because many people don’t see their doctor when making vaccination decisions.”

Another missing link: Empower hospitals and medical practices with vaccines

“One MGMA survey Finds that medical practices across the country were left out of the COVID-19 rollout efforts. Surveys have reported surprisingly 85% independent practices and or 45% hospital or health system-owned practices actively seeking the COVID-1 vaccine for their patients, to date no reports have been received. “

MGMA and other publications have stopped wondering why this vaccine distribution has been left out of the communication plan. “Physicians’ practices are unique in their community to identify, contact, and vaccinate patients. As a reliable provider in their community, physicians can and should play an important role in vaccinating patients against COVID-19. What is the best opportunity for vaccine providers and patients?

COVID-1V Vaccine Patient Education: How to Craft a Compile Con and Consulting Message

Here are some tips, strategies and article resources to help communicate the importance of vaccination and reach out to the hesitant areas of your target audience in particular.

  • Talk! Nothing ignores word of mouth (WOM) marketing. Doctors, Nurses, PA and all patients have failed credibility. If you’re leading a healthcare system or multi-location practice, think of new and fresh WOM messages to inspire your providers.
  • Social network Use organic (free) and provide social media to get the word out. You are doing a public service and practicing as a leader in your hospital or your community.
  • Provider videos. Even simple videos shot with a smartphone can benefit patients with a natural confidence for doctors.
  • Email your sick base. Your patients are hungry for official information about the COVID epidemic. They need your input now.
  • Advertise You can serve your community when building your brand by using valuable advertising dollars to “get the word out.”
  • Promote vaccines in the office. Tried and accurate point of purchase (POP) strategies such as posters, table tents, and flyers can help patients actively seek advice.
  • Keep current in COVID information. Coordinating with local, regional and national details can be challenging. Details change frequently, and it’s important to expect regular updates that help providers and the public.
  • Identify your target audience segments. Understand the spectrum of public view from “conform” to “reluctant” to “completely disapproved”. Each of these sections deserves a thoughtful and satisfying answer. Start with the objections listed above and consider the benefits that will appeal the most.
  • Consider demographics. Often political attitudes, age groups, and other characteristics influence attitudes and help shape the message.
  • Capitalize under the influence of a local celebrity spokesperson. One of my favorite marketing success stories is documented by Chip and Dane Health in Made to Stick. Their book includes details about how the Lone Star State persuaded blue-collar, pickup truck driving “Bubbas” to stop marching on state highways. Instead of relying on fear, guilt, shame, or silent owl characters, the “Texas with Texas” campaign successfully raised the pride of the state and portrayed Texas celebrities like “Ed to Tall” Jones and Willie Nelson.

Similarly, many large communities recognized the celebrity voice. They could be local hero, sports figure, or hometown-person makes good. Hospitals and health systems can recruit well-known and trusted people to help present the pro-vaccine message to the media. Most of these local celebrities will be happy to participate, and their influence will be powerful.

The US government wants you to join this fight!

Finally, the federal government understands that it cannot convince everyone to get the vaccine. Just last week, White House Press Secretary Jane SasakiAdmitted, “… we are not always the best messengers – here, a democratic administration – informing everyone about safety, effectiveness, and the importance of vaccination.”

Recently, a series of new public service and social media announcements have been released. These providers are aligned with the organizations, the CDC announcements, the messages broadcast from the state and local government spots – many in support of the National Advertising Council.

To his credit, the government is reaching out to trusted civic groups and community leaders and influential people – especially those with conservative connections.

Nationwide, this New York Times Reports: “There are 2,275 participating organizations in the public awareness push that will speak to communities where coronavirus vaccination is most suspected.” This national liaison network includes doctors, community and rural organizations, sports leagues, unions and religious groups.

Here’s what we can do: You can help … informally or not

At the grassroots level, the Department of Health and Human Services encourages individuals and community groups to join “We Can Do It” Community Core Education Campaign. Website includes Advertising And others Resources “Strengthening basic preventive measures to help boost vaccine confidence.”

Join the military as a healthcare professional to get the word out.


For more than a year, the Healthcare Success Team and I have been working to support hospitals and providers during these difficult months. Here are some old posts that have helpful instructions:

How to create an effective COVID-19 vaccine communication strategy for your patients

[Podcast] How to adjust your creative strategy in response to COVID-1 Pand Pandemic

How are healthcare consumers responding to the COVID / Coronavirus epidemic?

Stewart Gandolph

Chief Executive Officer on Healthcare Success

Stewart Gandolph, MBA, is the CEO of Healthcare Success, one of the country’s leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has acquired practice and counseling for more than 1,000 healthcare clients, from practice and hospital to multibillion-dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise in more than 200 locations nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for several leading industry publications, including the 21,000 Client Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stuart also co-authored, “Cash-paid healthcare: start, grow and perfect your cash-paid healthcare business.” Stuart started his career. Walter Thompson and other leading advertising agencies, where he marketed Total Fitness to Felchun’s 50,000 clients, such as Wells Fargo and Bally.

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