Examples of Improving COVID‑19 Health Outcomes and Identifying Vaccination Solutions
The most common causes of inadequate COVID-19 vaccination rates have not yet been successfully addressed in underserved populations and communities of color. The following chart shows several potential causes for COVID-19 vaccination gaps and respective proposed solutions.
|COVID-19 Vaccination Gap Cause
|Limited knowledge about COVID-19 therapies among clinicians
|Limited knowledge about COVID-19 vaccinations among clinicians
|Lack of strong communication by the clinical team to patients
|Difficulty obtaining patient data on COVID-19 vaccination rates
|Missing COVID-19 vaccination, mortality, and morbidity data in medical records
|Cultural sensitivities among the local population
|Patient hesitancy due to lack of information or fear
COVID-19 prevention and vaccination recommendations from providers
The CDC strongly promote mask wearing (or double-mask wearing), practicing social and physical distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and good handwashing as techniques help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Likewise, the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have shown 95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 in those without prior infection, 94.1% efficacy at preventing symptomatic infection in people with no evidence of previous COVID-19 infection, and 72% overall efficacy, respectively. All vaccines prevent severe disease and death from COVID-19. Thus, reinforcing recommendations of practicing good public health risk reduction tactics and getting vaccinated when one is available to patients is paramount.
A culture of improving COVID-19 health outcomes and vaccination uptake extends throughout clinical practice. It is essential for clinicians and staff to continue making strong recommendations for practicing mask wearing, physical and social distancing, and hand washing guidelines. Likewise, it is important for practices to be well-informed on each COVID-19 vaccine so that they may relay this education to patients. This will help to increase vaccine confidence for everyone and increase vaccine uptake for those patients who are eligible.
Addressing COVID-19 myths and objections
COVID-19 myths are common, such as the virus itself, it’s origin, and vaccinations. As such, dispelling both misinformation and disinformation can be challenging. The following common myths and responses are designed to help providers address these difficult conversations in practice.
“The COVID-19 vaccine will give me COVID-19.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were made with specific protein pieces that prompt the body’s immune response to fight them off. The mild to moderate symptoms that occur after vaccination are simply a sign that the immune system is working.
“The 5G mobile networks spread COVID-19 in my community.”
Viruses cannot travel on radio waves or mobile networks. Likewise, COVID-19 has spread in various countries that do not have 5G mobile networks. The COVID-19 virus is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. One may also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their eyes, mouth, or nose; thus, the need for persistent and appropriate handwashing.
“The COVID-19 vaccines will alter my DNA.”
The vaccines use something called messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct cells to make a piece of the spike protein found on SARS-CoV-2 to spark an immune system response. While mRNA is made from DNA, it will not integrate with your DNA and doesn’t change it. After an immune response is elicited, the body’s cells break down the mRNA and dispose of it.
“If I wear my mask for too long, I will get CO2 intoxication and be oxygen deficient.”
While prolonged use of a medical or cloth mask can be uncomfortable, when properly worn, neither lead to CO2 intoxication or oxygen deficiency. Ensure that your medical mask fits properly and is tight enough to allow for normal breathing. If wearing a cloth mask, ensure that it has breathable layers.
Ultimately, it’s important for patients to understand that COVID-19 is a serious, potentially deadly disease, and that going without vaccination can be risky even if the patient is considerably healthy.
The following worksheet can be utilized to capture the causes and solutions for common COVID-19 issues.
- World Health Organization. COVID-19 Mythbusters. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters#oxygen. Published November 23, 2020. Accessed March 5, 2021.
- How to Dispel Myths About the COVID-19 Vaccine. Consult QD. https://consultqd.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-dispel-myths-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/. Published January 4, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021.