5 Strategies to Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

As the COVID-19 vaccine supply continues to grow, you will likely start to encounter more vaccine hesitancy among your employees. While growing numbers of people have received the vaccine in recent weeks, some feel the need for more information about the vaccine and how it was developed before they are willing to get it.

To build vaccine confidence among your employees, consider the following 5 ideas:

  1. Listen. Allow time for your employees to speak freely about their concerns and ask questions. “The first tip is to listen. Everybody has their perspective,” says Kevin Johnson, MD, MS, FAAP, FAMIA, FACMI, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). “To build trust in the community, you have to start by being graceful.”
  2. Be an example. Share why you’re comfortable getting the vaccine and recruit other vaccine champions within the organization who can vouch for the safety of the process. Once you get your vaccine, share your decision with the entire organization and make it a cause for celebration.
  3. Search out sources of truth. To mitigate the spread of disinformation about the vaccines, ensure that whatever information you share is from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis. Here are some guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for finding those trusted sources.
  4. Direct employees to helpful resources. Some employees may have questions—particularly about the process for creating, authorizing and monitoring the safety of vaccines. This list of commonly asked questions from VUMC infectious disease experts is a helpful source of education, as is this video series created by VUMC to build vaccine confidence. The CDC also has a dedicated section on what individuals need to know about the vaccines.
  5. Share key messages regularly. Host a “vaccine Q&A” during staff meetings and send vaccine information through your email communications. Show testimonials, such as this video of VUMC’s Kevin B. Johnson and Ray Vaughns, Assistant Director of Operations at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, discussing their decision to get the COVID-19 vaccines with Tennessean opinion editor David Plaza.
Allow time for your employees to speak freely about their concerns and ask questions about the vaccines.