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Lessons learned from frontline skilled nursing facility staff regarding COVID‐19 vaccine hesitancy


Abstract


Background Presently a median of 37.5% of the U.S. skilled nursing facility (SNF) workforce has been vaccinated for COVID‐19. It is essential to understand vaccine hesitancy among SNF workers to inform vaccine campaigns going forward.


Objective To describe the concerns raised among healthcare workers and staff from SNFs during town hall meetings.


Design Sixty‐three SNFs from four corporations were invited to send Opinion Leaders, outspoken staff from nursing, nurse aid, dietary, housekeeping or recreational therapy, to attend a 1‐h virtual town hall meeting. Meetings used a similar format where the moderator solicited concerns that the attendees themselves had or had heard from others in the facility about the COVID‐19 vaccine. Physicians and moderators used personal stories to address concerns and reaffirmed positive emotions.


Setting Twenty‐six video town hall meetings with SNF staff.Participants Healthcare workers and staff, with physicians serving as content experts.


Measurement Questions and comments about the COVID‐19 vaccines noted by physicians.


Results One hundred and ninety three staff from 50 facilities participated in 26 meetings between December 30, 2020 and January 15, 2021. Most staff reported getting information about the vaccine from friends or social media. Concerns about how rapidly the vaccines were developed and side effects, including infertility or pregnancy related concerns, were frequently raised. There were no differences in concerns raised by discipline. Questions about returning to prior activities after being vaccinated were common and offered the opportunity to build on positive emotions to reduce vaccine hesitancy.


Conclusions Misinformation about the COVID‐19 vaccine was widespread among SNF staff. Sharing positive emotions and stories may be more effective than sharing data when attempting to reduce vaccine hesitancy in SNF staff.


Key Points


  • During town hall meetings with 196 frontline staff from SNFs, misinformation through social media was common: rapid vaccine development and infertility and pregnancy related concerns were among the most frequent raised.

  • Questions about returning to prior activities after being vaccinated were common and offered the opportunity to build on positive emotions to reduce vaccine hesitancy.

  • Sharing positive emotions and stories in a town hall meeting format may be more effective than sharing data when attempting to reduce vaccine hesitancy in SNFs.


Why Does this Paper Matter?

Misinformation about the COVID‐19 vaccines is widespread among SNF healthcare workers and staff. Town hall meetings that validate and address staff concerns by sharing stories and positive emotions may be an effective way to reduce vaccine hesitancy in this important population.


Read more here : https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jgs.17136

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