Family Motivates Vaccine Acceptance

San Diego’s nursing home residents were early recipients of the coronavirus vaccine. In recent weeks, most nursing home seniors and staff eagerly lined up to be vaccinated at their facility by either CVS or Walgreens. Nursing home staff members also shared with me that some people felt hesitant about receiving the vaccine.

The Population Health team uses motivational interviewing skills that incorporate certain words, phrases, and motivators to engage and encourage patients to complete all needed care and immunizations. Recently the Public Health Communication Collaborative shared a national poll entitled “The Language of Vaccine Acceptance." The poll identifies the language most effective to improve confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.

Family is by far the most powerful motivator word for vaccine acceptance. Significantly, more Americans said they would be more willing to take the vaccine “for my family" as opposed to “for my country" or “for the economy." The wording and reasons demonstrated to be most convincing were:

  • “At 95 percent efficacy, this vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus.”
  • “Vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end.”
  • “Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, and your country healthy and safe.”

In addition to family, Black Americans polled were motivated by language specifically addressing their needs and saving lives in their communities.

Latinx Americans were the only group more motivated by the statement that taking the vaccine is “The right thing to do” than by “Getting the vaccine will keep your family and friends healthy and safe."

As healthcare providers, the public views us as the most trusted source of information about the COVID-19 vaccine. These motivators, or “words that work’” will help us reach concerned people and build trust and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine.

I have been proud to serve our community with all of you during this time.

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