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Vaccine ; 2022 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2086814


BACKGROUND: Polarized debates about Covid-19 vaccination and vaccine mandates for healthcare workers (HCWs) challenge Belgian HCWs ability to discuss Covid-19 vaccine sentiments with peers and patients.Although studies have identified drivers of HCWs vaccine hesitancy, they do not include effects of workplace interactions and have not addressed consequences beyond vaccine coverage. METHODS: Interviews and focus group discussions with 74 HCWs practicing in Belgium addressed Covid-19 vaccine sentiments and experiences of discussing vaccination with peers and patients. RESULTS: Most participating HCWs reported difficulties discussing Covid-19 vaccination with peers and patients. Unvaccinated HCWs often feared that expressing their vaccine sentiments might upset patients or peers and that they would be suspended. Consequently, they used social cues to evaluate others' openness to vaccine-skeptical discourses and avoided discussing vaccines. Surprisingly, some vaccine-confident HCWs hid their vaccine sentiments to avoid peer and patient conflicts. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs observed that unvaccinated patients occasionally received suboptimal care. Suboptimal care was central in unvaccinated HCW unwillingness to express their vaccine sentiments to peers. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs described loss of trust and ruptured social relations with peers and patients holding divergent vaccine sentiments. DISCUSSION: Belgian HCW perceived Covid-19 vaccines as a risky discussion topic and engaged in "strategic silences" around vaccination to maintain functional work relationships and employment in health institutions. Loss of trust between HCW and peers or patients, along with suboptimal patient care based on vaccination status, threaten to weaken Belgium's, and by implication, other health systems, and to catalyze preventable disease outbreaks.

Nat Med ; 28(3): 456-459, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740459


The COVID-19 'infodemic' continues to undermine trust in vaccination efforts aiming to bring an end to the pandemic. However, the challenge of vaccine hesitancy is not only a problem of the information ecosystem and it often has little to do with the vaccines themselves. In this Perspective, we argue that the epidemiological and social crises brought about by COVID-19 have magnified widely held social anxieties and trust issues that, in the unique circumstances of this global pandemic, have exacerbated skepticism toward vaccines. We argue that trust is key to overcoming vaccine hesitancy, especially in a context of widespread social uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, where public sentiment can be volatile. Finally, we draw out some implications of our argument for strategies to build vaccine confidence.

COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Ecosystem , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Uncertainty , Vaccination
Nat Rev Dis Primers ; 7(1): 41, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269385

Vaccines , Humans , Vaccination