Addressing vaccine hesitancy and resistance for COVID-19 vaccines by Micah D J Peters

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has had various degrees of success in different countries. Achieving high levels of vaccine coverage is key to responding to and mitigating the impact of the pandemic on health and aged care systems and the community. In many countries, vaccine hesitancy, resistance, and refusal are emerging as significant barriers to immunisation uptake and the relaxation of policies that limit everyday life. Vaccine hesitancy/ resistance/ refusal is complex and multi-faceted….

Int J Nurs Stud. 2022 Apr 1;131:104241. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2022.104241. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has had various degrees of success in different countries. Achieving high levels of vaccine coverage is key to responding to and mitigating the impact of the pandemic on health and aged care systems and the community. In many countries, vaccine hesitancy, resistance, and refusal are emerging as significant barriers to immunisation uptake and the relaxation of policies that limit everyday life. Vaccine hesitancy/ resistance/ refusal is complex and multi-faceted. Individuals and groups have diverse and often multiple reasons for delaying or refusing vaccination. These reasons include: social determinants of health, convenience, ease of availability and access, health literacy understandability and clarity of information, judgements around risk versus benefit, notions of collective versus individual responsibility, trust or mistrust of authority or healthcare, and personal or group beliefs, customs, or ideologies. Published evidence suggests that targeting and adapting interventions to particular population groups, contexts, and specific reasons for vaccine hesitancy/ resistance may enhance the effectiveness of interventions. While evidence regarding the effectiveness of interventions to address vaccine hesitancy and improve uptake is limited and generally unable to underpin any specific strategy, multi-pronged interventions are promising. In many settings, mandating vaccination, particularly for those working in health or high risk/ transmission industries, has been implemented or debated by Governments, decision-makers, and health authorities. While mandatory vaccination is effective for seasonal influenza uptake amongst healthcare workers, this evidence may not be appropriately transferred to the context of COVID-19. Financial or other incentives for addressing vaccine hesitancy may have limited effectiveness with much evidence for benefit appearing to have been translated across from other public/preventive health issues such as smoking cessation. Multicomponent, dialogue-based (i.e., communication) interventions are effective in addressing vaccine hesitancy/resistance. Multicomponent interventions that encompasses the following might be effective: (i) targeting specific groups such as unvaccinated/under-vaccinated groups or healthcare workers, (ii) increasing vaccine knowledge and awareness, (iii) enhanced access and convenience of vaccination, (iv) mandating vaccination or implementing sanctions against non-vaccination, (v) engaging religious and community leaders, (vi) embedding new vaccine knowledge and evidence in routine health practices and procedures, and (vii) addressing mistrust and improving trust in healthcare providers and institutions via genuine engagement and dialogue. It is universally important that healthcare professionals and representative groups, as often highly trusted sources of health guidance, should be closely involved in policymaker and health authority decisions regarding the establishment and implementation of vaccine recommendations and interventions to address vaccine hesitancy.

PMID:35489108 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2022.104241

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