|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 562-563
Combating vaccine hesitancy: A call to implement healthcare worker training in patient counseling skills
Arati K Kelekar1, Victoria C Lucia2, Nelia M Afonso2
1 Department of Internal Medicine, Beaumont Health, Royal Oak; Department of Foundational Medical Sciences, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester, MI, USA
2 Department of Foundational Medical Sciences, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester, MI, USA
|Date of Submission||29-Jul-2021|
|Date of Decision||01-Aug-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||01-Aug-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||10-Sep-2021|
Arati K Kelekar
Beaumont Health System, 3601 W 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48073
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Kelekar AK, Lucia VC, Afonso NM. Combating vaccine hesitancy: A call to implement healthcare worker training in patient counseling skills. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:562-3
|How to cite this URL:|
Kelekar AK, Lucia VC, Afonso NM. Combating vaccine hesitancy: A call to implement healthcare worker training in patient counseling skills. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 4];4:562-3. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2021/4/3/562/325904
We read with interest the paper by Noronha et al. describing their study of COVID-19 vaccine uptake and hesitancy among Indian patients with cancer. This paper addresses an important topic given the enhanced risk of COVID-19 infection in immunocompromised patients., Despite the wide availability of the COVID-19 vaccine that was free of cost at the time of the study, four out five patients had not received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a dismal statistic given the fact that this patient cohort has repeated encounters with medical facilities and personnel. However, among the patients, who took the vaccine, 47.1% reported that they did so based on their doctor's advice. Similarly, 26.3% of patients who had not received the vaccine felt that advice from their treating physician would convince them to take the vaccine. Hence, this study adds to the body of evidence, that healthcare workers play a critical role in educating patients about vaccines and counseling vaccine hesitant patients. The concern that survey participants expressed about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and potential effect of the vaccine on cancer therapy or the cancer itself once again reinforces the potential role that treating oncologists can play in allaying the fears of this vulnerable population. These findings highlight the need for the development of formal educational curricula for teaching medical trainees the skills to counsel vaccine hesitant patients. In addition, systematic programs should be considered for the dissemination of information regarding the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine with medical professionals playing a key role in this process. This would also provide an opportunity to create awareness about other vaccines that are important in this vulnerable population both for the patients as well as providers.
Although the study itself uncovers the level of vaccine hesitancy and potential contributing factors, we believe that the researchers have not described the process of survey data collection with the level of detail that a study of this nature would necessitate. The survey was administered in English and the results report that 13.1% of the respondents were illiterate, clearly indicating the possibility of interpreters being required to administer the survey. Did the researchers themselves gather the data or were they assisted by personnel who were not a part of the study? The answers to these questions could have significant implications. The possibility of observation bias (Hawthorne effect) cannot be dismissed and may be of particular importance if the researchers themselves played an active role in the survey data collection. At a later point in the study, patients were asked if they would be willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine at the end of the questionnaire session. The authors report that 91% of the patients who had not received a vaccine agreed to do so at that point, a finding that may be an exaggeration of the actual intent if participants' response was impacted by a desire to conform to social norms. Addressing these concerns may help readers gauge the true prevalence of vaccine hesitancy and factors contributing to enhanced uptake.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
Noronha V, Abraham G, Bondili SK, Rajpurohit A, Menon RP, Gattani S, et al.
COVID-19 vaccine uptake and vaccine hesitancy in Indian patients with cancer: A questionnaire-based survey. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:211-8. [Full text]
Bansal N, Ghafur A. COVID-19 in oncology settings. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3 Suppl S1:13-4.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with cancer and cancer survivors: A narrative review. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:315-20. [Full text]
Lau M, Lin H, Flores G. Factors associated with human papillomavirus vaccine-series initiation and healthcare provider recommendation in US adolescent females: 2007 National Survey of Children's Health. Vaccine 2012;30:3112-8.
National Vaccine Advisory Committee. Recommendation from the National Vaccine Advisory Committee: Standards for Adult Immunization Practice. Public Health Rep 2014;129:115-23.
Lucia VC, Kelekar A, Afonso NM. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among medical students. J Public Health (Oxf) 2020:fdaa230. Epub ahead of print.