Overcoming vaccination resistance

Confidence in the product starts with confidence in the process


Let’s start with the good news.

A newly released Gallup poll found the percentage of Americans willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine has increased to 71%, up from 65% in late December.

Now for the bad news. A full 66% of Americans are dissatisfied with the vaccination process, 20% of whom are “very dissatisfied.” The issues driving this dissatisfaction—a lack of federal guidance leading to confusion on the state level, not enough vaccines to go around—may be up for debate. But there is one thing everyone agrees upon: We must do better.

The better we do, the more likely that last 29% of Americans unwilling to be vaccinated might change their minds.

Vaccination resistance

Of the people predisposed to resisting the vaccine, the reasons cited center primarily around concerns about the rushed timeline (25%) and wanting to wait to confirm it’s safe (22%).

Any who can blame them? Previous to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus vaccine, the development of the mumps vaccine over the course of four years in the 1960s was the fastest in history. What’s encouraging, though, is that this hesitancy isn’t connected to a deep-seated mistrust of vaccinations in general, but instead speaks specifically to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.

One way to change confidence in the product is to create confidence around the process.

Gaining trust

“While healthcare professionals know how to run vaccine programs,” writes ServiceNow’s chief product officer Chirantan “CJ” Desai, “They’ve never had to deliver multi-dose vaccinations for the entire human race while managing limited supplies and a rolling schedule of prioritized populations based on risk.” As a result, people are encountering vastly different experiences when it comes to the actual business of receiving a shot in the arm.

Unfortunately, for those predisposed to refusing the vaccine, the smallest roadblock may shut them down for good.

So how can the healthcare industry create an experience that will gain the trust of COVID vaccine skeptics and ultimately lead to true herd immunity? The answer begins with getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

Information supply chain

Access to good information is the key to gaining trust. However, vaccination information has often been in scarce supply—from the factory down to the front lines.

A typical scenario involves hospitals having no idea as to when they will receive a shipment of vaccines. That in turn transforms into a mad scramble to assemble enough staff to administer the vaccine when it arrives, not to mention an inability to schedule appointments properly in advance. The result is a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” message sent to the many people waiting for the shot.

This “vaccination roulette” leaves people anxious and frustrated—not exactly a confidence-building experience for those with doubts in the first place.

A well-supported information supply chain can help solve the problem. It travels ahead of the vaccine so that everyone is prepared when it arrives. Providers know how many vaccine doses they’re going to receive, and when and where they will arrive. Vaccine recipients know when they can expect to receive a shot and where they should go to get it.

No more last-minute cancellations. No more situations where the vaccine shows up, but appointments have yet to be made. Just an efficient process that works the way it should.

Digital workflows

Of course, the information supply chain doesn’t appear out of thin air. It requires the right technology to underpin the process, making real-time communication between all parties a possibility.

This is where digital workflows supported by a single platform enter the picture.

Digital workflows have already transformed slow, manual functions for dozens of industries. In the battle to vaccinate the world’s 7.8 billion people, they can provide the speed, transparency, and coordination that essential organizations need to address this global crisis.

One way to change confidence in the product is to create confidence around the process.

“Vaccine delivery is a workflow—a process with clear steps—just like employee service delivery or customer service management,” says Desai. “Cutting-edge science gave us effective vaccines in record time. Now we need to deploy innovative technology and leading workflow solutions to effectively vaccinate people everywhere.”

To meet the challenge, ServiceNow recently released Vaccine Administration Management—a modern, self-service experience for both desktop and mobile devices. It connects patient engagement with back-end inventory systems so organizations can easily schedule appointments and send reminders, notify patients when more COVID-19 vaccines are available, and communicate when a new segment of the population is being prioritized for the vaccination.

This modern, effortless vaccination process should translated into more people getting vaccinated. In turn, this will help convince those concerned about the vaccine’s safety to take the plunge themselves. With a commitment to transparency and process transformation, we can solve the biggest workflow challenge of our time—and be on the way to beating COVID-19.

This post originally appeared on Forbes BrandVoice