For healthcare organizations and the public, the Delta variant of the COVID virus couldn’t have surged across the country at a worse time. Cases and hospitalizations are spiking, mask wars are raging, and kids are returning to school this month. Most concerning of all, a large portion of Americans remain unvaccinated.
About 60 percent of eligible people in the U.S. (ages 12 and up) are fully vaccinated, meaning that approximately 154 million of the total 320 million population haven’t received the vaccine.
Meanwhile, cases are spreading across most of the U.S. at the rate of roughly 150,000 new cases per day, and the fast-spreading, highly contagious Delta now makes up at least 90 percent of all new cases. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes for Health, said the U.S. could soon be seeing more than 200,000 cases a day, a level not seen since the worst days of the pandemic last fall and winter.
But what can healthcare providers do to help minimize the further spread of COVID, protect patients, and further efforts to get shots in the arms of the vaccine hesitant?
Patient education is a key instrument in the toolbox of providers to help inform and educate patients about the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines against the Delta variant. The fact that August is National Immunization Awareness Month also gives providers a timely “in” to reach out to patients and encourage them to schedule COVID (and other needed) vaccinations.
Since texting has become the No. 1 way for patients and providers to communicate, it’s the perfect tool to reach out with links to well-sourced data and information about the vaccines. To make your patient outreach more efficient, providers can send automated patient education texts to unvaccinated patients or group texts to all patients, since many patients will have unvaccinated friends, family, and acquaintances.
Providers can also text out group text information about vaccine availability and links to click to schedule a shot or just drop by if walk-in vaccinations are allowed.
The more that providers can inform, educate, and encourage patients to receive the vaccine using modern, patient-preferred digital communication, the better they’ll be able to protect their patients and staff, help stem the tide of the current virus surge, and fill their schedule.
For more information about how to continue to successfully roll out the COVID vaccines to patients, check out the guide, “The COVID Vaccine: A Resource Guide.”