Vaccine Confidence: Nurses Turn Skepticism Into Action is the first episode in the six-part At the Core of Care Vaccine Confidence podcast and blog series.
In this episode, Philadelphia public health nurses Monica Harmon and Maria Mazzocchi discuss their own initial feelings of hesitancy around the COVID vaccine, as well as strategies they’ve used to inform their patients and communities about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
In sharing her own process for deciding to get that vaccine, Monica describes her research into the clinical trials, and the relative diversity of both the subjects and team conducting the trials compared to other vaccine research. “Particularly,” she says, “there were people that looked like me in those trials…I knew that there was someone on the team that looked like me, and that would ask the questions that I would ask, but also look at the data through a lens that I may have as well.
Maria shares similar sentiments, saying, “I’m a public health nurse, I should be doing role modeling for the other nurses, for clients, for my family, friends. And if these Hispanic and Black communities are going there to do these trials, then I should be stepping up and do you know, my job and be that role model.”
Once Monica and Maria decided to be vaccinated, they got to work helping to educate their patients and community about the vaccine, a practice which Monica says only reinforced her decision to get vaccinated. Maria emphasizes the importance of meeting clients where they are and not forcing a decision about the vaccine on them, while recognizing and promoting the importance of the vaccine to a healthy society.
Speaking to the systemic violence communities of color have experienced in the healthcare system, Monica says:
She stresses the importance of having an honest and open conversation about her struggle with the decision to get vaccinated as a means of building trust in her community.
Facing challenges and difficult conversations ahead in the vaccine rollout, Maria is optimistic. “We are very resilient, nurses and clients, and we're here, we're doing this work together, one year after the
start. And so I feel like that's really powerful to take on and say, Hey, if we made it so far, then this is not going to stop us. And we are able to work this out together.”
This project was funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant number NU50CK000580). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this resource center do not necessarily represent the policy of CDC or HHS, and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government.
Author: MaryGrace Joyce, MS, is the Policy Specialist of the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium.