Interview: The Vaccine-hesitant Patient Needs to Hear "Yes" from Primary Care

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COVID-19 vaccine information that is culturally sensitive, clear, and concise may help reduce patient hesitation, but the PCP can shift a “maybe” to “yes.”

Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, inadequate information for and inconsistent communication to minority communities have contributed the disproportionate impact of the virus on these populations.

Jorge Moreno, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine at Yale Medical School and a primary care physician at Yale Internal Medicine Associates, a large multiphysician practice in racially and ethnically diverse New Haven County in Connecticut. When vaccines first became available in early 2021, he quickly noticed the lack of clear, concise information available to the Hispanic community he serves. He worked closely with the Yale School of Medicine and his internal medicine colleagues to produce a series of basic informational videos and hand outs that became extremely popular.

In a recent interview with Patient Care to talk about vaccine hesitancy, Moreno says his patients often come in confused about vaccination, by the immense amount of unfiltered information they receive every day, in Spanish and English. They aren't typically anti-vaccine, he says, they just "don't know what's what."

His first job is to be the sieve, to separate myth from fact, and then to hone in on the actual reason for concern about COVID-19 vaccination. He explains in the video that follows that sometimes, all a patient needed was to hear him say, "yes."