Drive for 75: Resources from Week 30

Workforce | October 01, 2021 | by Dee Pekruhn, Jill Schumann

LeadingAge Coronavirus Update Calls feature brief segments called “Drive for 75” to promote the successful vaccination of at least 75% of our aging services providers’ workforce, and as needed, residents. We will cover developments in the news, research, and innovative practices that support our members in attaining high vaccination rates. 

This Week’s Highlights:

Volume Seventy: Air Date 9.27.21. “What’s Working”

In response to a request, more than 300 readers wrote to The New York Times to describe how they persuaded friends and family to get a vaccine. Here are some of the verbatim stories. They may be useful as you have conversations.

A helping hand

“I talked my sister through some of her hesitation. When she gave an excuse about being too busy to get an appointment, I got her insurance info from our mother and made an appointment for her. I sent her the date and time, then called her that morning to make sure she was on her way. She sent selfies from the pharmacy.” — K. Quinn Adams, Brooklyn

Bribery

“My oldest daughter did not want to be vaccinated. We talked to her, but she was not ready. In full Jewish-mom style, I offered her one hundred dollars to get vaccinated, and she agreed to follow up by the end of the month. She has had one vaccine so far. I have mixed feelings about how I handled this. When push comes to shove, I would rather have my daughter safe and alive than have one hundred dollars.” — Harriet Pecot, Gualala, Calif.

Persistence

“I nagged and nagged and nagged some more. I did this by sending almost daily texts and emails about how safe the vaccines are, how bad Covid is, how many people are dying, and how she was being selfish by not getting the vaccine. She said she got it because she could not take it anymore, and that it was worth the risk as long as I did not send her any more articles on Covid.” — Charlie, Florida

Ultimatums

I persuaded my partner of 21 years to get the vaccine by telling him that he could not come back home, or into the house, unless he gets the vaccine. In addition I said that there was no path forward for the two of us together unless he got the vaccine. He got vaccinated and he did it for love, not because he believed he should get it! Now fully vaccinated, he is telling me and others that he is protected, and I heard him trying to convince his aunt and cousin to get the vaccine. I am so so happy that he is vaccinated. — Carol F. Rosenthal, Long Island, N.Y.

Firsthand experience

It wasn’t something I said, honestly. My boyfriend was steadfast in his refusal to get the vaccine, whereas I received the two-shot Pfizer vaccine when I was eligible in March. What convinced him was coming down with Covid. He brought it home to me. He got horribly sick, and swore he would never go through that again. I had a mild case that was something like a cold. The contrast between our two cases convinced him the vaccine works and it was worth it to him to get vaccinated. — Sherry, Athens, Ga.

An open conversation

“I helped my friend by truly listening to her questions and concerns. I did not ‘should’ all over her! I understood her feelings of fear even though I did not have the same fears. I tried hard to not be judgmental and to simply explain how and why I got the shot. She is now fully vaccinated. A few weeks ago she helped her childhood friend get their shot, too. Don’t give up on your loved ones! — Amy M, Alexandria, Va.

Volume Seventy-One: Air Date 9.29.21. “The Drive to France”

Today for Drive for 75, let’s take a little trip together in both time and place. Since it’s such a beautiful day to travel, let’s go to 2018, in France. At that point, according to the Wall Street Journal article I read today, France ranked the lowest of 144 countries surveyed about trust in vaccines of any kind. Indeed, the French have a deep history of mistrust in vaccines, and earlier this year, it had some of the world’s highest stats in vaccine hesitancy, coupled with steep increases in COVID infections and hospitalizations. Like here, things seemed dire. Jump ahead to today, and France now has one of the highest vaccination rates of all Westernized countries, and its COVID infection rate has dropped to 61 of every 100,000 people (as compared to the US, 241 of 100,000). Death and hospitalization rates are also falling quickly.

So what happened, what worked? This was the subject of this article, and I think it should give us all great hope in the approaches that are being tried here in the US. Primarily, there are two conjoined initiatives that France enacted that have led over 14 million French people to get vaccinated in the 11 weeks since they were enacted: the health pass requirement, and vaccine mandates for all healthcare workers, including all hospital workers and nursing home staff. The Health Pass system “Implemented in August, … requires people who want to do everything from sit at a Parisian cafe (yes – even outdoors!) to take a high-speed train to show a scannable code proving complete vaccination against Covid-19, recovery from Covid-19 or a recent negative test. Nationwide protests against the initiative at times attracted more than 200,000 people.” And yet, close to 88% of all French people over the age of 12 have since gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

One Parisian café owner was quoted as saying: “It was effective. Very effective,” Mr. Amarante said. “Those who said they’d wait and see, within a few days they were all vaccinated with a first dose. Macron’s speech accelerated things.”

And then –“ On Sept. 16—the first day health workers were required to be vaccinated—France suspended around 3,000 people around the country for failing to comply with the order. French Health Minister Olivier Véran said the suspensions represented only 0.1% of the 2.7 million jobs in the sector. “A large number of these suspensions are temporary,” Mr. Véran said, adding that many were agreeing to get a shot after seeing that the vaccination mandate was real.”

Here in the U.S., we know many are grappling with the realities of vaccine mandates. And you could say that we also are taking a multi-pronged approach; today, YouTube announced it would ban all high-profile anti-vaccine accounts and block all vaccine misinformation. This is part of a move that several social media powerhouses are taking to curb the anti-vaccine movements from promoting vaccine resistance.

I hope that, in today’s Drive to France, you see some great hope in the road ahead; it appears that mandates coupled with other measures that influence an unvaccinated person’s social life are working well to encourage people to take the shot. And working despite protests and detractor’s efforts to delay and distort the vaccination efforts. To me- borrowing Carol’s tunnel analogy - that is something bright to look forward to!