In this episode, we hear from Melody Butler, RN, who works as an infection preventionist at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center on Long Island and founded Nurses Who Vaccinate.
Melody shares a story of working during the H1N1 flu outbreak while pregnant, and experience vaccine hesitancy due to information about the vaccine she was reading online. Through a series of conversations with another nurse, Melody came to the understanding that those sources were misleading, and that the data on the vaccine said it was safe. This experience empowered her to receive the vaccine and was also formative in her decision to found Nurses Who Vaccinate, which has over 1400 members nationwide.
When it came to the COVID-19 pandemic, Melody jumped at the chance to get vaccinated, especially because she had had COVID early on and was able to recover. “I know I had gotten lucky once,” she says, “and I didn’t want to play the lotto again. So I was very relieved to have received the vaccine.” Melody’s mission now is to help other nurses become vaccine advocates for their patients and communities. She feels strongly that nurses should be open about their personal experience with vaccines, and approach those who are vaccine hesitant with patience and understanding.
These conversations can happen on social media or in person with colleagues, friends, family members, and patients. Melody’s framework for a productive conversation about vaccine confidence is the CASE method, which uses Corroboration, About me, Science, and Explain. This method lets the person know she understands their concerns, allows her to share some of her knowledge and experience, focus on what scientific information is actually available, and then translate that information as it applies to each person’s life.
Melody stresses the importance of community partnerships in building vaccine confidence, and that vaccine advocates see their work as “a labor of love,” due to their many personal experiences with vaccines or the lack thereof.
Overall, she says, “I’m here tonight because I love my community. And I want to protect everyone who's there. And I want to make sure that they have access to this vaccine, and they know that they should get it because it's important and it could save their life. And if people have questions, I want them to know that they are comfortable asking them in a safe place.”
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.