May 14th, 2021

Company aims to reduce vaccine hesitancy

By KELLEN TANIGUCHI on April 13, 2021.

ktaniguchi@medicinehatnews.com@@kellentaniguchi

Think Research Corporation launched an educational hub to help clinicians and family physicians promote vaccine confidence and reduce vaccine hesitancy, which is a growing area of concern, says CEO Sachin Aggarwal.

“Docs are a real key part of this story,” he said. “Evidence has changed so fast over the course of COVID. Doctors are like you and me, they keep on top of it the best they can, but things are changing rapidly so you need to arm them, and they need to know how to most effectively communicate that information with their patients.”

The learning hub is hosted by MDBriefCase, acquired by Think in January, and includes an accredited vaccine hesitancy program and an educational video series called “COVID Straight Talks,” which features Dr. David Strain from the United Kingdom, and Dr. Peter Lin and pharmacist Michael Boivin from Canada, who discuss topics of vaccine dosing, asymptomatic spread and socializing after you’re vaccinated.

Aggarwal says the learning hub is free of charge and includes videos and other learning materials.

The hub is accessible for every physician and clinician in Canada and even internationally, says Aggarwal, but he adds the program is especially relevant for those provinces with higher vaccine hesitancy rates like Alberta.

Only 47 per cent of Albertans say they would get the vaccine as soon as possible when it became available to them, which is the lowest rate in the province, according to a study by the Angus Reid Institute released in January. The study also says 20 per cent of Albertans say they would not get the vaccine if it was available to them, the highest percentage in the province.

The study conducted an online survey and used a representative randomized sample of 1,580 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.

To reduce vaccine hesitancy, Aggarwal cites a study from the Ontario College of Family Physicians, which states 21 per cent of respondents say they may get the vaccine, with 79 per cent of those people saying they would be more likely to get the vaccine if it was endorsed and administered by a family doctor. The study was done with 1,572 randomly selected Ontarian adults who are Maru/Blue online panelists.

“It doesn’t mean every doctor needs to administer the vaccine – pharmacies are a great place to go – but it does mean that doctors are a key part of reducing vaccine hesitancy and encouraging patients to get their vaccine,” said Aggarwal.

“All of us want to be back in our schools, our workplaces, we want to be back in our restaurants and our bars and there’s only one way for us to do that and that’s for everyone to get vaccinated and doctors are a key part of that.”

Aggarwal says if vaccine hesitancy isn’t reduced, people will continue to get COVID-19. He adds real heard immunity is needed to stop the circulation of the variant strains and new variants that could keep coming in the future.

Any family physicians or clinicians who want to take the vaccine hesitancy course can register for free at https://www.mdbriefcase.com/managing-vaccine-hesitancy.

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