June 28, 2021

As Covid-19 Vaccinations Slow, Safety Net Providers Get Creative

[Excerpted from Direct Relief]

Stephanie Willding, chief executive officer of the Chicago-based clinic CommunityHealth, explained that staff members have seen three separate stages in the vaccination process. First, she said, were people ready and even excited to receive the vaccine. There were so many of those that the schedule at pop-up clinic events would be filled “in an instant.”

Second came people “who needed a few more conversations with a trusted messenger.”

But now, she said, “we find ourselves in a place where folks who have not received the vaccine are those who are extremely hesitant or will never get the vaccines.”

That means spending more time with individual patients, providing educational tools and expressing concerns. One patient needed eight education sessions before he was willing to receive a vaccine.

CommunityHealth staff members have worked to identify several different types of people who haven’t received the vaccine yet, and to develop approaches to make vaccination feel more comfortable for them.

Some can’t afford time off or transportation to a vaccine clinic, or are concerned about side effects keeping them from work. Others have “a historic reason…to distrust the health care system,” Willding said. Some are skeptical about the existence or severity of Covid-19 itself…

Read the full piece from Direct Relief, June 28, 2021