04 Nov COVID-19: Study Explores Why Some Veterans Are Hesitant To Get Vaccinated
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rani Elwy, PhD
Bridge Quality Enhancement Research Initiative Program, Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research,
VA Bedford Healthcare System
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The VA operates a very robust, embedded quality improvement and implementation science program, of which our team is involved. As the VA was one of the first US healthcare systems to rollout COVID-19 vaccination programs, we were asked to evaluate these efforts in real-time, to provide input to VA healthcare leaders on what was going well and what could be improved. This survey reported in JAMA Network Open is one of the quality improvement efforts we engaged in.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
1) A significant number of Veterans (71% in our survey) reported receiving COVID-19 vaccines in March 2021 and
2) Among those that had not yet received a vaccine, skepticism about the vaccine itself and deliberation, the need for a “watch and wait” approach, were among the top reasons for this. These concerns provide a very concrete direction for conversations between trusted VA clinicians and their patients who have not yet been vaccinated. These conversations—which will be many, not just one-time—a critical for helping Veterans unsure about COVID-19 vaccines to move towards acceptance of them.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We are analyzing qualitative data from interviews with both Veterans and VA employees to understand even more clearly the pathway from vaccine hesitancy to acceptance. This is really where research needs to be focused. We know vaccine hesitancy exists globally. How to address it, knowing the steps to take next, is absolutely critical for moving beyond this pandemic.
Jasuja GK, Meterko M, Bradshaw LD, et al. Attitudes and Intentions of US Veterans Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(11):e2132548. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.32548
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