CDC Offers Health Care Providers Tips on How to Get Skeptical Patients Open to Vaccination

Roberto Ortega, 16, awaits the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine administered by Registered Nurse Amy Berecz-Ortega from AltaMed Health Services in Los Angeles, California on August 17, 2021. - LA County health officials will begin offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for people with severely compromised immune systems …
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing healthcare providers with tips on how to speak to the unvaccinated and ultimately convince them to get the jab.

“#HCPs: Your patients trust your #COVID19 vaccine recommendation. Your patients look to you as a source of correct vaccine information. Having conversations with patients can help encourage them to get vaccinated,” the CDC said in a Wednesday tweet, linking to a guide for providers on how to have conversations with patients skeptical of the vaccine:

The guide, titled “An Introduction to Motivational Interviewing for Healthcare Professionals” provides tips for speaking to skeptical unvaccinated individuals, and it encourages them to apply “motivational interviewing” tactics during a patient’s visit.

The guide instructs healthcare providers to be compassionate, show empathy, and “be genuinely curious about the reasons why the patient feels the way they do.” Patients must give permission to discuss the vaccine. If they say yes, the provider is permitted to move to “Step 3 – motivational interviewing.”

The guide instructs the provider to ask the patient a scaled question such as, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to get a COVID-19 vaccine?” — ten being they already have an appointment to get vaccinated.

“Let’s assume someone says 4. This is where curiosity comes in. You can say, ‘Okay, why 4? And why not a lower number?’ Let them answer, and ask a follow-up question like, ‘What would help you move to a 5 or 6?'” the guide said.

“The goal is to help the patient become more open to moving toward higher numbers—in other words, getting vaccinated,” the guide states.

“You want them to talk about this out loud because talking actually changes how they process their choices and can develop forward momentum,” the guide continues, adding that providers must be compassionate to the patient’s mixed feelings — “both the part of them that wants to trust that getting a vaccine is important and safe and the other part that feels hesitant.”

This is not the federal health agency’s first time asking individuals to urge unvaccinated people to get the shot. The CDC also has a guide urging vaccinated Americans to “help” unvaccinated friends and family members who have questions about the vaccine and ultimately “help make their vaccination happen.”

The guides come as federal health officials roll out their plans to promote another coronavirus shot following findings of waning vaccine efficacy over time.


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