Drive for 75: Resources from Week 31

Workforce | October 08, 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. 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-Two: Air Date 10.04.21. “Escaping Vaccine Hesitancy”

Today, it occurred to me that discussing approaches to address vaccine hesitancy is a little like the ‘cone in the box’ exercise of perspective taking- (you know, that one where there’s a cone in a box, and depending on what angle you peer into the box, you see a circle or a triangle) there’s really not a whole lot out there now that’s new, but there are still a few new ways to look at the situation.

Take this recent article by McGill in Canada, which breaks down “escaping vaccine hesitancy” into two neat categories: “emotional anxiety for what might happen or intellectual rationalization for why the vaccine is a bad idea.” Yes, we’ve seen this cone and box before, but the information presented in the article offers new angles on the view.

The article draws on a research study on the 5 C’s of vaccine hesitancy: confidence, complacency, constraints, calculation and collective responsibility. The goal of this study, which its authors state they have achieved, was to create the 5C tool as a way to ‘diagnose, intervene in, and evaluate’ vaccine hesitancy behaviors. A “conspiracy mentality,” for example was found to have a negative impact on vaccine confidence, whereas “perceived time pressure” had a positive impact on the removal of constraints to getting the vaccine, and “normative beliefs” about vaccine benefits had a negative effect on complacency. I’ve linked this study in the handouts if you want to read more about it.

The new angles that the McGill article offers include a focus on key facts about the vaccines – and vaccine development in general – that don’t get much air time.

Three facts for those experiencing emotional anxiety about side effects:

  1. “The good news is that our long history of developing and administering vaccines has shown that, when delayed effects have happened, it was always within eight weeks of receiving the vaccine.
  2. The side effects from the vaccines were of the same sort that could be caused by the infection itself. So if we worry about the vaccine, we should also worry about the disease.
  3. As for the viral claim that COVID-19 vaccines prevent three deaths but also inflict two, it came from a paper which was retracted last July. It committed the cardinal sin of assuming that any death following vaccination was due to the vaccine, a fallacious argument

Three facts for those combating intellectualized rationalization on mutations:

  1. There is no historical precedent for the hypothesis that the vaccines will force the virus to mutate faster or more efficiently (called “selective pressure,”) thus undermining the vaccines’ efficacy. “It has not occurred for smallpox (the only eradicated virus)… polio or measles (the closest on their way to eradication)… Mutations that occur in the coronavirus’ genetic material are due to chance. … But the more bodies the coronavirus gets to replicate in, the more chances it has to mutate and to potentially become a problematic variant.”
  2. And the vaccine could evade natural immunity and give rise to troubling variants regardless; the article points out that all of the known variants to date emerged BEFORE vaccines were widely available. The article states “Whether we vaccinate or not, the potential for dangerous variants exists, but in the scenario in which we do vaccinate, the morbidity and mortality burden is much, much, much lower.”
  3. And a final point –the immunity resistance built from the vaccines involves not just antibodies, but also T cells. Those who worry that, over time, your vaccine-acquired antibodies might not fight off new variants should take solace in the fact that your T cells will be ready to disable the virus’ enzymes that allow it to replicate itself – thereby shutting down viral production in your body at the source.

The article ends with the observation that: “Just because we can conjure up a risk does not mean it is scientifically plausible.” And “the only thing standing between those who are vaccine hesitant and their own protection is their human brain.” Understanding this about people who are hesitant – and using new perspectives to educate them – may be just what changes that human brain’s decision.

Volume Seventy-Three: Air Date 10.06.21. “The Main Reason”

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll published last week looked at the major reasons behind recent increases in vaccination among folks who had been hesitant. They were: concerns about the highly transmissible delta variant; worries about overburdened hospitals; and knowing someone who has died or become seriously ill from COVID-19. Knowing someone who became seriously ill or died was most often cited as the MAIN reason for convincing hesitant individuals to receive the virus.

Also, thirty-five percent said a major reason was to participate in activities where vaccinations are required, such as traveling. Nineteen percent said it was because it was mandated by their employer.

Fifteen percent of those newly vaccinated since June said they were motivated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of Pfizer’s vaccine, but this was only cited as the MAIN reason for vaccination by 2% of the studied population. Nineteen percent of the recently vaccinated said social pressure from family and friends was a major reason for getting vaccinated; 5% said it was the main reason.

The report said those living in areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths were more likely to say they had been vaccinated since June 1 — nearly a quarter of vaccinated adults surveyed in high-case counties said they were vaccinated since June.

Let’s hope and work toward a day when experiencing loved one’s illness and death are no longer a key reason for becoming vaccinated.