Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at Northwell Health Hospital in New York, said she felt hopeful when she received the vaccine. The CDC hopes Americans will feel the same way -- and that they’ll be willing to publicize coronavirus vaccines to others.
The CDC has released a template for health care facilities to create orange-and-white stickers and buttons that say, “I got my COVID-19 vaccine!” Doctors and nurses could hand out the “swag” after patients receive their shots, similar to “I Voted” stickers offered on Election Day.
“We’re very influenced by what we perceive people in our community to be doing, so if everybody else is doing something, it’s attractive to us,” Katherine Milkman, PhD, co-director of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative, told ABC News.
Public health officials and health care companies are looking for different ways to address vaccine hesitancy and remind people to get their second doses of the vaccine when it’s time. Milkman and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, for instance, are studying ways to increase vaccine rates, including text reminders, reserved appointments, and other treats such as ice cream.
“We think ‘I got vaccinated’ could be the new ‘I voted’ -- at least until the pandemic is over -- and we’re exploring the ideas as one of many ways to encourage others to get vaccinated,” a CVS spokesperson told the news outlet.
The efforts may seem simplistic, but they’re a first step to remind people. Health care organizations also need to address more complex questions about vaccine safety, efficacy, and side effects.
On a personal level, health care providers will have to talk with patients to understand their concerns and discuss the pros and cons of taking a COVID-19 vaccine. As part of its vaccine communication toolkit, the CDC released posters, slide presentations, social media messages, and fact sheets to help health care staff talk to patients.
“When it comes to the specifics of vaccine concerns, you’re not going to address them effectively with mass media campaigns,” Dan Salmon, PhD, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told ABC News.
“You have to make sure you don’t do more harm than good,” he said.