A Shot in the Arm: Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccination

Regulation | January 19, 2021

Ideas from peers and experts to encourage COVID-19 vaccination.

One on one conversations with a trusted person tops the list as most effective approach.

In a January 2021 survey of LeadingAge members, the vast majority of respondents said the most effective strategy in allaying concerns was holding private, one to one, listening-oriented conversations with a trusted person such as the medical director, a respected nurse, one’s own physician, a chaplain or a knowledgeable peer. Bioethics experts back this up. Conversations should be open and non-judgmental. Provide information and resources to correct misperceptions and calm fears.

People are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine for many reasons.

As you listen to the concerns people have about receiving the vaccine, there are likely to be some themes. These include:

Aging services providers use different strategies to reach different people in different settings

Here are some approaches aging services providers have taken to reach their staff:

  • Posters (NO pictures of needles!)
  • Zoom sessions with a physician who addresses common misconceptions.
  • Handouts or links to, materials from CDC, vaccine manufacturers, pharmacy partners, health departments, LeadingAge toolkits and resources
  • Interactive town halls with good information on safety, efficacy and reasons to be vaccinated.
  • Building positive buzz with texts, robocalls, celebrations
  • Testimonies from peers who have been vaccinated, side effects and why they got vaccinated.
  • Stickers after first doses to encourage peers to ask questions.
  • Rewards for receiving the second dose – T-shirts, PTO, compensation, social media recognition, wrist bands.

Leadership matters

Formal and informal leaders among staff, residents or in the wider community can make a difference in many ways, including:

  • Role model embrace of vaccines by stepping up to be first in line.               
  • Build enthusiasm and create a sense of celebration.
  • Remind everyone why vaccines are important and what widespread vaccination will ultimately promise.
  • Create space for open, patient, respectful conversations.             

Look for tools, tips, interviews with experts and much more at Vaccine Tips and Tools