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Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

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The United States is rapidly approaching a time when vaccine supply will exceed demand, and efforts to win over vaccine skeptics will need to be stepped up soon. So far there is no manual on how best to do this.

Abby Goodnough, who covers healthcare, discovered this firsthand while following the vaccination campaign at the Forest Hills nursing home in Washington D.C. I spoke to Abby about what worked and what didn’t. didn’t work in trying to vaccinate reluctant nursing home staff, which it largely does. black workers, including immigrants from African countries.

What are some of the reasons people give for not wanting a vaccine?

It was mostly fear. And this is not to minimize it because their fear was real, considerable and understandable on several levels. It was a brand new vaccine, and some of them had little exposure to vaccines, certainly in adulthood.

A few people felt that it was against their faith to be vaccinated or to read certain biblical passages which suggested that being vaccinated was not a good step for religious purposes. Some nursing executives have also told me that some employees, especially people of color, are concerned that the government does not care about their interests and is in fact seeking to harm them.

How did the nursing home approach vaccine skeptics?

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At first, Tina Sandri, the executive director of the nursing home, really leaned on Dr.Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser on Covid-19, and Kizzmekia Corbett, an African-American scientist who has helped develop the Moderna vaccine. Tina showed videos of them and other top scientists explaining vaccines and answering questions related to people’s fears. But she found that kind of science-intensive conversation didn’t go far.

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Were there other approaches that worked better?

Yes. One-on-one conversations with her or with someone else that people trust. She found out who each reluctant person trusted the most. Then she arranged for these people to have really personal and intimate conversations about their concerns.

She also listened and let people talk. She found that letting people talk about their fears and listening without judgment was one of the most important things she could do to help overcome their fears.

What do employees think changed their mind?

There were many reasons. Deborah Childs worked in the payroll industry and was very receptive to Dr. Fauci. For Mariah Proctor, a security guard, I think conversations with Tina have done a lot to make her more comfortable. And for many others, I think it was the passage of time, and watching the people who had taken the vaccine go on with their lives without anything horrible happening to them.

Also, showing them the results. After four deaths and two dozen infections in the nursing home over the past year, the fact that it really stops suddenly for most was the best proof that vaccinations were important and that they are working.

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Even so, there are still a few dozen employees who have not taken the vaccine, and it will be an ongoing process.

What lessons can we learn from Forest Hills?

Do not try to push the vaccination too quickly; Realize that it will take some time for some people to become familiar with the idea. And another lesson Tina would be strongly attached to is not to be judgmental, dismissive or laugh at people’s fears. Empathize with them and gently provide accurate information whenever you see a chance.

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Chile’s rapid vaccination rollout leaves it on the brink of being among the first countries in the world to achieve herd immunity – more than a third of its population has received at least one dose of vaccine. Yet the country is in the throes of a record spike in infections and deaths, and its health care system is overwhelmed.

Pascale Bonnefoy and Ernesto Londoño write that the rapid and effective vaccination campaign has been part of the problem. This has given Chileans a false sense of security, and the government has moved too quickly to reopen its borders and ease restrictions on businesses.

In the face of the deadly new wave, the country has put in place a new set of strict lockdowns for nearly 14 million people. The country serves as a cautionary tale for other countries looking to launch vaccination campaigns to quickly end the era of sluggish economies and social distancing.

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A is for doing nothing.
B it’s for boredom.
VS is for covidiots.
re is to “do our best”.
E is for overtime at home.
F is for my father who died without my visit.
g is for sinister milestones.
H is for heavy heart numbers.
I is for inoculation, a misused word.
J is for Jack in the Box drive-through, the only place we eat now.
K it’s to know someone who died from Covid.
L is to live simply.
M is for meals at home.
NOT is never to come out unmasked.
O is for eating outdoors in the cold.
P is for the pandemic.
Q is for quirky Zoom weddings and funerals.
R is for parents who don’t understand my fear.
S is for sick and tired of it.
T is for the time bomb.
U is for unprecedented.
V is for vaccines versus variants.
W it’s to want my shot.
X is for Covid lung x-rays.
Yes is for yelling at strangers who come too close.
Z is for zoonotic.

– Margaret “Page” Kakowski, Portland, Oregon.

Tell us how you are dealing with the pandemic. Drop us a line here, and we may post it in a future newsletter.

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