Harnessing the nursing contribution to COVID-19 mass vaccination programmes: Addressing hesitancy and promoting confidence
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Sarah Burden , Catherine Henshall , Ruth Oshikanl. Harnessing the nursing contribution to COVID-19 mass vaccination programmes: Addressing hesitancy and promoting confidence. J Adv Nurs. 2021;00:1–5
The need for a mass vaccination programme for COVID-19 is considered a pivotal public health strategy to reduce rates of infection, hospitalizations and deaths which have been so much a feature of the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic (DHSC, 2021). Vaccinating whole populations quickly is key to control the global spread of the disease, reduce and prevent the long-term effects of COVID-19, and limit the opportunity for mutations of the coronavirus to emerge (Bagcchi, 2021; Pagel, 2021). After the social restrictions in daily living and the economic upheaval experienced by people across the world, vaccines offer hope and the promise of better days to come, but this can only be fully realised if sufficient numbers of people across all sectors of the population take up the offer of a vaccine (DHSC, 2021; Schoch-Spana et al., 2020). Critical to the success of COVID-19 mass vaccination programmes is the nursing contribution (ICN, 2020). Nurses have for a long time been instrumental in the success of immunization programmes across the life cycle, through key engagement activities concerned with awareness raising, education, vaccine administration, prescribing, and policy development (Bajnok et al., 2018; RCN, 2021). The challenge this time, over and above the scale and urgency of the endeavour, is the need to promote vaccine confidence and acceptance against a background of misinformation and mistrust, arising in part due to the pervasive influence of social media combined with long standing distrust in public health measures in certain communities (Ashwell & Murray, 2020; Harrison & Wu, 2020; Schoch-Spana et al., 2020). Approaches which are broader than simply the administration of vaccines in vaccine clinics are required (Harrison & Wu, 2020; ICN, 2020). From our own involvement in the UK National Vaccination Programme, we suggest that partnership working between nurses, individuals and communities is the key to addressing vaccine hesitancy and promoting vaccine confidence.
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