Alberta Stage 3

Family physicians and other primary-care doctors were “thrust into” the role of being vaccine counsellors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Calgary researchers say.

a hand holding an object in his hand: Pharmacist Alison Davison prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy on 17 Ave. S.W. in Calgary on Friday, March 5, 2021. © Provided by Calgary Herald Pharmacist Alison Davison prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy on 17 Ave. S.W. in Calgary on Friday, March 5, 2021.

It’s that responsibility that spurred a team at the university’s School of Public Policy to create the Vaccine Hesitancy Guide, a road map to help doctors navigate difficult conversations with patients who have reservations about being immunized against the novel coronavirus.

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To date in Alberta, 75 per cent of those aged 12 and over who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine have received at least one dose, and 61.3 per cent have had both necessary shots. The province launched a $5-million advertising campaign in May to encourage people to get vaccinated, running ads online and in public spaces, as well as sending out mailers to all homes.

A more personal, targeted approach could help boost immunization rates in Alberta, said Myles Leslie, a School of Public Policy assistant professor who helped create the Vaccine Hesitancy Guide.

“There’s an extremely large campaign done at the aggregate level to address vaccine hesitancy issues and concerns across the country. But billboards and even social media are not able to talk directly to people, and are not able to pivot as much as we wish they could for what people are actually thinking and feeling in the moment,” Leslie said during a Wednesday webinar.

“Revisiting a topic with someone who not only has medical expertise but is seen as a trusted expert in areas of health and well-being is sort of the absolute inverse of a billboard.”

Not all primary-care experts are trained or equipped to talk to patients about specific concerns with COVID-19 vaccines, however. Leslie said his team developed the Vaccine Hesitancy Guide to help physicians approach the often-thorny conversations with compassion.

On accessing the guide, physicians are greeted with bold text asking, “Are your patients hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine?”

From there, they can look up various “hesitancy types” identified by researchers, ranging from those with specific hesitancies — such as concerns over safety or misinformation, including worries an mRNA vaccine could alter their DNA — to broader hesitancies about the vaccine or the severity of the pandemic. Advice is also offered for people who have a fear of needles and those who mistrust the health-care system due to historical traumas.

A physician’s goal should not be to immediately change their patient’s mind, but to start a dialogue, Leslie said.

“The goal is, ‘I will continue to talk to you, and I may think more about it.’ The goal is contemplation rather than action,” he said. “You are not a salesperson. You are an ally. To be an ally is not to force or sell, it is to be alongside and understand.”


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Alberta leads Canada in vaccine hesitancy rates, according to a July 13 Angus Reid survey .

According to the survey, 22 per cent of Albertans are either unwilling to get vaccinated or unsure if they will. That’s twice the national average of 11 per cent

Raad Fadaak, a School of Public Policy researcher who helped develop the guide, said while it was developed for physicians, it is open to anyone and could be used as a tool in personal conversations as well.

“This goes for clinicians, not just physicians, but it also goes for people in the public, talking to family members and others,” Fadaak said.

The Vaccine Hesitancy Guide can be accessed online at vhguide.ca .

Three-quarters of eligible Albertans now immunized against COVID-19 as daily cases creep back above 100

Alberta reached a vaccine milestone Thursday, as three-quarters of the eligible population has now had at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Vaccine uptake remains lowest among younger age groups, however, with only 61.8 per cent of those in their 20s having received at least one dose of vaccine. The group represents about 30 per cent of Alberta’s active COVID-19 cases, despite making up only about 13 per cent of its population.

To date, Alberta has administered 5.13 million doses of vaccine. The province has a stockpile of more than 1.22 million doses it has yet to put into arms.

A mobile vaccine clinic will begin touring rural Alberta and remote work camps next week, part of a strategy to increase immunization rates in parts of rural Alberta, which lag behind urban centres.

Also Thursday, Alberta reported 106 new cases of COVID-19 from about 6,600 tests, representing a 1.6 per cent positivity rate.

It’s the first time the province has logged 100 or more new cases in a day since June 22. It’s been three weeks since Alberta rescinded nearly all public health restrictions upon entering Stage 3 of its reopening plan.

The province also logged 76 new cases of variants of concern, including 65 cases of the more contagious Delta strain.

There are 676 active cases of the coronavirus in Alberta; among those, more than half (392) are in the Calgary area.

Hospitalizations rates continue to decrease. There are 93 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, down two from the previous day. Twenty-six of those patients are in intensive-care units, down one from the previous day.

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/alberta-primary-care-physicians-get-vaccine-hesitancy-roadmap/ar-AAMrUx6

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