COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Tips for Your Patients

April 12, 2021 - by WELL Staff

WELL™ Health shares top patient guidance tips to include in providers’ COVID vaccine communication process.

Healthcare providers are under tremendous pressure to vaccinate eligible individuals following the distribution of the COVID vaccine. Whether you are a WELL Health customer or use a different platform, we are committed to helping healthcare providers succeed in guiding patients through their COVID vaccine distribution process.

WELL Health’s clinical advisor, Terrance Lee, MD, MPH — a board-certified emergency medicine physician and Chief Medical Information Officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess — helped create these recommended vaccine communication tips and workflows.

[DOWNLOAD] COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Playbook

This WELL Health tip sheet offers tactical patient guidance tips and language through providers’ COVID vaccine communication plans, including education, appointment scheduling, no-show management, and adverse event monitoring.

This vaccine communication strategy can be used with any patient communication tool but work natively with the WELL™ Health communication platform. Your communication platform will serve as your vaccine information system, where you can receive feedback and information from your patients as you update and inform them of the COVID vaccine process.

Here are a few excerpts from the full playbook.

Tip 1: Reassure Patients About Vaccine Safety

To sort through multiple channels of information, patients may need reassurance and guidance about the vaccine’s safety, efficacy, and importance.

Example:

The COVID vaccine is now available. This vaccine, which has two doses, is critical in saving lives, stopping the spread of coronavirus and ending the pandemic. You can learn more about the COVID vaccine and its safety at {insert appropriate link}. We will soon be contacting patients who are eligible to receive the vaccine. In the meantime, please read about its safety or text us with any questions or to speak to your healthcare provider to learn more.

Tip 2: Educate Patients About Eligibility, Safety & Doses

Some eligible patients may resist receiving the vaccine when first approached. Leverage your patient communication tools to educate patients about eligibility, why it is critical to receive the COVID vaccine, and what they can expect (i.e. number of doses).

Example:

You are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine, which comes in two doses. It is critical that all eligible patients are vaccinated in order to save lives, stop the spread of coronavirus and end this pandemic. Click here {insert link} to learn more about the vaccine and its safety. Would you like to schedule an appointment to receive the COVID vaccine: Dose 1 or speak to a healthcare provider to learn more? Type 1 to schedule, 2 to speak to your healthcare provider and 3 to decline.

Tip 3: Update Appointment Confirmations & Send Reminders

Part of your vaccine communication plan should include updating your appointment confirmations to include instructions related to the COVID vaccine, what patients should do if they experience COVID symptoms, how to utilize the virtual waiting room, and safety protocols related to COVID.

Example:

Action: Send a confirmation immediately following the booking of an appointment.

We look forward to seeing you for the COVID vaccine Dose 1 on {insert details}.  If you have questions or need to reschedule, please call or text us. 

Action: Send a reminder 24-to-48 hours before the appointment.

We look forward to seeing you for the COVID vaccine Dose 1 appointment on {insert details}. If you have an elevated temperature, cough, sneezing, or other flu-like symptoms, please reschedule your appointment. Text us back if you have questions.

Action: Send a day-of reminder 2-to-4 hours before the appointment.

We look forward to seeing you today for the COVID vaccine Dose 1 appointment on {insert details}. Text us back if you have questions or cannot make your appointment today.

Tip 4: Reach Out After Each Dose Is Administered

Within 24 hours of the first and second dose of the COVID vaccine, patient guidance is key. Follow up with patients to collect information about — and respond to — any adverse events.

Example:

Action: send within 24 hours after vaccine dose one and two.

We are following up to see how you feel after receiving the COVID vaccine. Have you experienced any soreness or redness at the site of injection? Or have you experienced any other symptoms?

(depending on patient response)

You’ve indicated a common response to the vaccine, if your symptoms worsen or if you develop new symptoms please contact your healthcare provider.

(depending on patient response)

Thanks for sharing. We will have a member of our staff contact you within 24-to-48 hours. If your symptoms worsen, please contact your healthcare provider. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

Tip 5: Schedule the 2nd Dose Appointment Quickly

To improve the likelihood of the patient returning, schedule the second dose appointment during or immediately after the first appointment. If needed, remind patients of the importance of the second dose.

Tip 6: Follow Up With No-Shows or Refusals

Follow ups should also be a part of your vaccine communication strategy, especially for no-shows. Uncover the cause of no-shows, mitigate the negative impact, and reduce the likelihood of no-shows in the future.

Example:

We did not see you at your scheduled appointment for the COVID vaccine today. Would you like to reschedule? (Y/N?)

(based on patient response)

Can you tell us why you are declining? Please select from the list below:

I would like to discuss more with my healthcare provider

I am awaiting more safety information

I am worried about the side effects

I already received my vaccine someplace else

Other

I’d rather not say

Tip 7: Monitor Patient Responses & Gather Information to Supplement Reporting

Monitor patient responses to identify and reach out to at-risk segments. Use the data gathered by your vaccine information system during this process to supplement the data you will share with the FDA, pharmaceutical companies, and public health agencies.

Tip 8: Create a daily waiting list for extra vaccine doses

Since all the doses of the current COVID-19 vaccines need to be administered within 6 hours or they must be discarded, it is important to have a backup plan to address patient no-shows so the vaccine is not wasted. Healthcare workers can help to ensure every drop of the precious COVID-19 vaccine is delivered to those who need it most by planning ahead, relying on a focused workforce, and leveraging bi-directional communication.

Create a waitlist campaign workflow

Text those in your patient population who are on the vaccine priority list to ask if they want to be on a daily on-call vaccination list in the event there are extra doses.

Example:
If you are not confirmed for a vaccine appointment, do you wish to be on a daily waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if there are extra doses available? Please Reply 1 for Yes or 2 for No.

If yes, explain that at a specified time toward the end of the day, they will receive a text with an estimated number of available doses. Emphasize that doses are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Example:
YES, We will contact you after 3 pm with an estimated amount of available doses and the address. We cannot guarantee you will receive a vaccination since they will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis

When vaccination staff confirms that extra doses are likely to be available, send personalized, automated messages to the entire list of interested patients.

Example:
Hi {clientFirstNameProperCase}, we have extra doses of the COVID vaccine available. Can you be at [INSERT ADDRESS] in the next two hours? Please Reply 1 for Yes or 2 for No.

Set expectations appropriately for patients who are available to receive doses, and provide clear instructions for them to follow.

EXAMPLE
We have an estimated 25 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine available after 3 pm today. We cannot guarantee you will receive a vaccination since they will be distributed on a firstcome, first-served basis. The address is [INSERT ADDRESS] Will you be coming in today? Please Reply 1 for Yes or 2 for No.

More about the Tip Sheet:

The WELL Health COVID Vaccine tip sheet is intended to enable providers to optimize patient response rates. Tips and sample language are offered in “good faith” based on publicly available information at the time of publication. As more information becomes available, these tips and sample language will be updated. 

More about WELL Health:

Automations are self-configurable in the WELL™ unified patient communication hub. Message triggers, text, and timing can be customized to suit the needs of your individual practices. Streamline your COVID vaccine communication with your patients now. ♥

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