Clinicians will play ‘critical role’ in maximizing uptake of COVID-19 vaccine
All clinicians, even those who do not immediately provide COVID-19 vaccines upon their FDA approval, will have a key role in ensuring maximum vaccine uptake, a CDC official said at the virtual Infectious Diseases in Children Symposium.
“As a trusted source of information, you will play a critical role in helping build confidence [in the] COVID-19 vaccine, vaccinations and the vaccine systems,” said Nancy E. Messonnier, MD, who heads the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Messonnier noted that COVID-19’s “complex and evolving vaccine landscape” — multiple doses required, lack of vaccine interchangeability, varying disease presentations, different efficacy and adverse event profiles — may cause confusion.
According to Messonnier, there is also uncertainty surrounding the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, should the FDA approve a vaccine or issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for one.
A vaccine appears to be on the way. The FDA’s vaccine advisory committee will meet Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s request for an emergency use authorization for their messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccine, which was shown to be 95% efficacious against the coronavirus. Among the other vaccine candidates in late-stage development, an mRNA-based vaccine codeveloped by Moderna Inc. and the NIH was also shown to be around 95% efficacious.
Messonnier noted that the first doses will likely go to health care professionals, first responders, individuals with high-risk conditions and older adults in congregate settings. The next doses will be made available to non-health care critical workers, younger individuals in congregate settings, all other older adults, children and young adults, followed by anyone else who did not previously have access to the vaccine.
Messonnier said clinicians need to “vaccinate with confidence.” To do so, they should habitually share easily understandable and correct information with patients, express confidence in other health care professionals’ decision to receive the vaccine and participate in two-way conversations with members of the community in “sustainable, equitable and inclusive” ways. She encouraged clinicians to regularly visit the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine page for help in this process.
She said that regardless of where a clinician is on the vaccine distribution list, their role in maximizing vaccine uptake remains paramount.
“Even if you're not yet vaccinating, you ... will make a big difference,” Messonnier said. “We need all of you to amplify messages, provide trusted information to your community and groups, listen and engage these groups and provide feedback to CDC.”