Trust Between Patient, Provider Key to Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy


Research presented at ASHP 2024 found that concerns around the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and the credibility of information from public health authorities were the biggest drivers of vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Relationships between patients and their providers need to be improved before the next global medical crisis in order for vaccine hesitancy to be less of an issue than it was during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research presented at the ASHP Pharmacy Futures 2024 conference, held June 8 to 12 in Portland, Oregon.1

Trust Between Patient, Provider Key to Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy / Leigh Prather -

Trust Between Patient, Provider Key to Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy / Leigh Prather -

Although vaccine hesitancy, which refers to a delay or refusal in the acceptance of vaccines, has long been a public health issue, it was significantly exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to research published in Health Promotion Perspectives, the global vaccine hesitancy rate was on average nearly 30%.2 While several reasons have been given for not wanting to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the most common were safety, side effects and the risk posed by COVID-19 itself.

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Research has also shown that even people who did get vaccinated were hesitant; 48.8% adults in the United States who got a COVID-19 vaccine reported some level of hesitancy.3 However, that data showed that patients with a primary care physician were 1.59 times more likely to be hesitant toward receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, highlighting the critical need to improve trust between patients and providers.

With the COVID-19 public health emergency ending, investigators from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy conducted a study to compare trends in global vaccine hesitancy and public perceptions that contributed to the issue. Data for the study was gathered from recent publications, with a greater emphasis on studies published between 2022 and 2024. At least 5 to 6 studies from different countries on different continents were included.

Investigators found that most studies conducted in the developed and developing world showed that people had similar concerns around the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and the credibility of information given from public health authorities. However, some studies from the developing world showed that myths about vaccines, vaccine access challenges and mistrust also played a role in vaccine hesitancy.

In the United States, the studies showed there was a spike in vaccine hesitancy after a pause in the administration of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine due to a rare blood clotting side effect. In Europe, vaccination levels in Germany slowed at much lower levels compared to other EU countries, while studies in Italy advocated for more transparency and data sharing. In areas of the Arab Gulf, the reported vaccine hesitancy rate was 70.6%, while high levels of vaccine acceptance were reported in China. And in Africa, vaccine hesitancy was lowered due to improved levels of vaccine awareness.

“We noted primarily concerns about vaccine side effects,” the authors concluded. “Vaccine hesitancy correlated with conflicting reports by health authorities and residual inherent mistrust of health agencies by vulnerable populations in both the developing and developed countries. Triumph emerged from educational interventions to combat concerns and mistrust issues with efforts to spread persuasive or gain vs loss framed messages from health experts instead of government or pharmaceutical officials. Patient-Provider relationships must be improved in order to dispel distrust issues and strengthen the patient-provider trust bond before the next global medical crisis emerges.”

Check out more of our coverage from ASHP 2024 here.

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1. Salama NN, Aboukhatwa M. People in Developed and Developing Countries Finally on the Same Page: Public Perceptions Towards Covid 19 Vaccine, Stratified by Continent. Presented at ASHP Pharmacy Futures 2024; June 8-12, 2024; Portland, OR.
2. Pourrazavi S, Fathifar Z, Sharma M, et al. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: A Systematic review of cognitive determinants. Health Promot Perspect. 2023 Apr 30;13(1):21-35. doi: 10.34172/hpp.2023.03. PMID: 37309435; PMCID: PMC10257562.
3. Reece S, CarlLee S, Scott AJ, et al. Hesitant adopters: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among diverse vaccinated adults in the United States. Infect Med (Beijing). 2023 Jun;2(2):89-95. doi: 10.1016/j.imj.2023.03.001. Epub 2023 Mar 25. PMID: 38013742; PMCID: PMC10038887.
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