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New Healthcare Professional Tool: Interactive COVID-19 Vaccine Conversations Module for Healthcare Professionals

Date: 12/15/2021 12:26 PM

Tag: Immunization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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Lauren Pearson is a Health Communications Specialist in the Division of Viral Diseases
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), contracted through Weber Shandwick.​




​Have you ever had a strong opinion that just did not sit well with the person staring back at you from across the room? It is relatively easy to disagree on social media platforms, but what about in person?

This is the reality that many healthcare professionals (HCPs) face when tasked with discussing COVID-19 vaccines with patients who are vaccine hesitant. It is no secret that HCPs are a highly trusted source of information on COVID-19 vaccines. As a result, the way in which these vaccine conversations are approached is crucial to the health and safety of all patients.

But how can we, as public health professionals, ensure that HCPs are fully equipped with everything they need to have these conversations both confidently and effectively? 

One proven strategy to address vaccine hesitancy in patients is to apply motivational interviewing techniques. 

Motivational interviewing is an evidence-based and empathy-driven approach that can be utilized when helping patients move toward a healthy behavior change that matches their values and needs.

For example, a COVID-19 vaccine conversation that employs motivational interviewing is sensitive to how a patient’s cultural background, family dynamics, and circumstances may impact their perspective.

Title image for the COVID-19 Vaccine Conversation Module for Healthcare Professionals opens module in new window

Motivational interviewing also prioritizes asking for the patient’s permission to discuss certain information. This allows the patient to maintain a level of agency and comfort in the direction of the conversation. Even if a patient declines, this approach offers a way to respond with respect and next steps that could still lead to a yes in the future.

To provide a training ground for HCPs to learn more about this approach and see it used in real COVID-19 vaccine conversation scenarios, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed the Interactive COVID-19 Vaccine Conversations Module for Healthcare Professionals. 

This new and interactive tool includes:
  • ​Tips for Having Effective Vaccine Conversations with Patients 
  • Vaccine Conversations in Practice: Case Scenarios
This tool features five case scenarios. Within each of the scenarios, a healthcare professional is shown having a conversation with a patient concerning their hesitations about COVID-19 vaccines. These conversations consider the patient’s health history, life stage, occupation, and personal concerns about the vaccines.

During the conversations, participants can choose the patient’s reaction to the healthcare professional’s recommendations—whether negative or positive. This helps showcase the different ways that motivational interviewing can be applied when patients give very different answers. 

While motivational interviewing is not a perfect formula for every patient, this tool enables healthcare professionals to learn what it can look like to put these techniques into practice and envision what it could look like with their own patients.

Access and equip healthcare professionals in your networks with this free CDC resource today:


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