"With immunization rates at an all-time low, at least 80 million children under age one are at risk of diseases such as diphtheria, measles, and polio as COVID-19 disrupts routine vaccination efforts," warns Gavi, WHO, and UNICEF.
Since employers and providers have a crucial role in vaccinations, we recently hosted a webinar entitled Strategies to Increase Vaccine Confidence.
Immunizations and well-child check-up rates are at an all-time low, so to help keep our kids, schools, and communities safe, employers must ensure all their employees' kids get their annual exams, immunizations, and flu vaccines.
Joining us for the presentations were Amy Swanson, Health Improvement Director, Brian Guerriero, Merck US Vaccines Portfolio Marketing, and Dr. Nikki Parkerson, regional medical director, from Merck.
Webinar highlights include:
- Vaccination hesitancy refers to a delay in the acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite the ability of vaccination services. Hesitancy may vary across time, place, and vaccines.
- A strong provider recommendation is a crucial predictor of receiving a vaccine and can significantly increase vaccination rates.
- Motivational interviewing is a guiding style of communication that invites patients to explore their thoughts while supporting them to make their own decisions.
- Web-based social media interventions and storytelling may be effective strategies to increase vaccine acceptance in vaccine-hesitant parents and patients.
- Increasing knowledge of vaccine-preventable diseases and local vaccination trends may demonstrate a willingness to vaccinate.
- Referencing credible organizations may strengthen vaccination efforts.
TIPS TO HELP BUILD VACCINE CONFIDENCE
Encouraging your employees to immunize their children sounds complicated, but it doesn't have to be.
Health Action Council recently created the Spring Into Immunization Communication Toolkit designed to arm you with clinically approved data and strategies to help employees make smart choices for their child's health.
#1 Know your population.
Understand which employees have children under 18 and engage your diversity, equity, and inclusion professionals to connect with all demographics. Spend time understanding the cultural beliefs that may dissuade these employees and their children from getting vaccinated.
#2 Inform and educate.
Use this toolkit to engage with your employees about the goals, safety, and benefits of immunizations. Communicate the latest information and be fully transparent in addressing employees' vaccine hesitancies.
#3 Provide resources.
We've created 24 clinically approved social media posts to share on your internal social media or Intranet. Additionally, we've designed a PowerPoint presentation, two newsletters, and a flyer to help you communicate the importance of immunizations. Download our Spring Into Immunization Communication Toolkit.
#4 Celebrate positive results.
Once your employees respond positively to the campaign, be sure to recognize the challenges that come with facilitating immunizations during times convenient and feasible for them. You might consider providing childcare options or offering onsite vaccine clinics. Provide incentives to your employees through recognition and rewards programs such as catering healthy lunches for them each month.
About Health Action Council's Healthy Kids Initiative
Health Action Council, in conjunction with UnitedHealthcare, CVS Health, and the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), launched the Healthy Kids Campaign, dedicated to promoting healthy kids and healthy families through five key preventive areas:
Childhood Immunizations and Flu Vaccines. Many kids have missed required immunizations due to COVID-19, and a "twindemic" of COVID-19 and flu is especially concerning.
Well-Child Visits. Kids need to be seen regularly by their doctor to ensure they're developing correctly, but due to COVID-19, there have been many cancellations for well-child visits.
Prevention of Teen Suicide. Teen suicide rates have risen due to added stress and additional time at home from COVID-19, where teens can access firearms, medications, and alcohol.
Dental Hygiene. Establishing good oral hygiene practices starts when a child is young.
Healthy Habits. Creating a routine is essential for children, especially to combat significant disruptions from the pandemic.