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Doctors work to decrease vaccine hesitancy by focusing on all the positives they offer

Messaging is one of the most important factors contributing to whether people will want to get vaccinated.

COLORADO, USA — As more vaccines become available, doctors are stepping up their messaging to make sure everyone knows they’re safe and effective.

Health experts across the globe view the vaccines as our way out of the pandemic. But misinformation, hesitancy, and rhetoric underselling the importance of getting vaccinated have created challenges.

Dr. Ozzie Grenardo sits on the Colorado Vaccine Equity Task Force and is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Centura. He’s focused his work on making sure all communities have access to vaccines and accurate information about them.

"We’ve got to do a lot of work on our part to really overcome those messages that are being given out that are creating hesitancy for people to get the vaccine," said Dr. Grenardo. "There is an incredible need to get that vaccine into communities of color so that they can start to live the life that they should."

When we talk about vaccines, we often focus on their limitations. You hear a vaccine is 95% effective or 65% effective and that you still have to wear a mask and social distance. 

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But doctors want you to focus on this part: they are all nearly 100% effective in preventing death and very effective at preventing hospitalizations. 

"That could lead us to a place where we start to say, yes, we are in a position where we don’t have to use masks or social distance," said Dr. Grenardo. "We’re not there yet, so it’s still incredibly important to do those things."

You’ve heard experts talk about the rare adverse reactions to the vaccines. But here’s the data from the CDC: From the first 55 million doses administered, less than .2% of people experienced an adverse reaction. 9Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli says messaging around the vaccine from experts must be more positive.

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"Vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations save lives. So the messaging is perhaps the most important part of getting people vaccinated and saving those lives," said Dr. Kohli. "The intention of the messaging was to be conservative. It was meant to say, let’s continue to do the things we are doing until we all get vaccinated. Unfortunately, that has somehow morphed into people perceiving that the vaccine is not as effective or it doesn’t work."

A new survey released by Magellan Strategies this week reveals the majority of Coloradans plan on getting the vaccine. 55% said they would get vaccinated right away, while 34% responded that they probably wouldn’t. The rest were undecided.