Thursday May 13, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccines: New Tools Help You Educate Patients
The latest news on the COVID-19 vaccine front gives us reason to be optimistic. According to the most recent data from the CDC, as of May 1(covid.cdc.gov) more than 38% of all adults in the country had been fully vaccinated, and more than 54% had received at least one dose of a vaccine.
For our elderly patients, the news is even better: More than 82% have received at least one dose, and more than 68% are fully vaccinated.
Take a closer look at the data, though, and you’ll see it’s not the same everywhere. In places like New England, New Mexico and Hawaii, between two-thirds and three-fourths of all adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while in many Southern states (mine included), the number of adults who’ve gotten at least one vaccine hovers around 45%.
We know from personal experience how important these vaccines are to ending the pandemic. We know that people are sick of the lockdowns, the mask wearing, the social distancing. We see it on our patients’ faces every day. They — and you — want life to return to normal.
Sadly, we’re also aware, thanks to a recent report, of what might happen if enough people choose not to get vaccinated or if vaccine hesitancy levels — which remain stubbornly high(www.kff.org) — don’t keep going down.
Family physicians are one of our country’s most trusted sources of health information. The trust and rapport that we each develop with our patients over time makes us unique among health care professionals. Patients look to us for guidance and advice, and we want to make sure that your Academy gives you the best resources to help your patients. And with this week’s approval for the Pfizer vaccine to be given to 12- to 15-year-olds, we will likely be asked for additional insight.
It’s time to put our unique trust and rapport with our patients into action. That’s why I’m happy to announce that we have just launched some new consumer-friendly resources aimed at fighting misinformation and getting more COVID-19 vaccines in the arms of our patients.
So how can you get the word out? Below are some new resources available for your use:
- On familydoctor.org/vaccines,(familydoctor.org) we have updated the COVID-19 vaccine article with the latest information and added additional patient-facing resources, including one that debunks common myths about the COVID-19 vaccines. Please share these resources with your patients and others in your community.
- Through the familydoctor.org Facebook page,(www.facebook.com) we will be posting periodically to encourage people to go get their COVID-19 vaccine to help build a community of immunity. If you’re on Facebook, please share these posts.
- We continue to add resources to the patient education section of the AAFP’s COVID-19 vaccine page. We recently added some brief copy you can use in your patient communication channels (e.g., email, newsletters, patient portal, etc.) to encourage patients to get their vaccine either through your office, as available, or using the federal vaccine finder.(www.vaccines.gov)
The struggle to get people vaccinated against COVID-19 continues. Working together, we can combat misinformation, reassure our patients, increase vaccination levels, and put an end to the pandemic once and for all.
Posted at 07:00AM May 13, 2021 by Ada Stewart, M.D.