With an abundance of information floating around about the COVID-19 vaccines—accurate and inaccurate—the importance of equitable access to education and reliable information is more important now than ever.
This is why Rochester Regional Health has continuously provided a range of educational and informational information through a variety of platforms since the approval of the first COVID-19 vaccines.
“A lack of access to reliable information can be damaging,” says Ebony Caldwell, Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office. “Whether people are hearing false claims or are lacking information completely…It can cause a lack of trust in a lot of things, including medicine.”
When it comes to information and education, not everybody has the same access. While some use their smartphone to find information through the internet or social media, others may have to wait for the evening news on television.
Because of this, it’s beneficial for experts and healthcare professionals to provide education across a variety of channels—so that the information is heard by all people, not just a few.
Since the approval of the first COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020, Rochester Regional Health has provided a range of content aimed at educating the community on the COVID-19 vaccine and bringing awareness to its importance.
Rochester Regional Health’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Office started hosting virtual meetings to discuss the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, educate the community on the approved vaccines, and provide updates and new information.
Held multiple times a month, the conversations are a way for the community to grow in understanding about the new vaccines and ask experts any questions they may have.
With special conversations aimed at specific communities, such as Latinx, deaf and hard of hearing, LBGTQ+, veterans, and more, the virtual meetings are meant to provide everyone in our community with the education they need to make informed decisions regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Not only are these conversations working to provide information to every community, but they are meant to allow people to ask questions—something they might not have done otherwise.”
In an effort to provide an abundance of reliable, expert-sourced information, Rochester Regional Health developed Health Hive, an online hub of articles and information.
Within Health Hive, there is a wide range of information about the COVID-19 vaccine from local experts, including advice, scientific explanations, education, answers to common questions, and more.Visit Health Hive
MyCare is an app for Rochester Regional Health patients to securely connect with their medical providers and manage important health information at any time. While the app is a wonderful communication tool, there are also several resources to find accurate information and education on COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.
With a feature that allows communication with providers, patients can ask any questions they may have about the COVID-19 vaccines right through their phone.
One of the most traditional ways to get new information, the news is a great source of education on the COVID-19 vaccine. Since a broad range of people can access the news on basic television, Rochester Regional Health experts and physicians are consistently featured to provide new information on the COVID-19 vaccines.
Oftentimes, people do not feel confident in machine decisions about their health before doing research. Having a full understanding of a medical concept, such as the new COVID-19 vaccines, can greatly reduce the fear and anxiety many people have about the unknown.
This is why reliable resources that provide up-to-date and accurate information are paramount—especially at a time like this.
“I would suggest that people get information from a trusted source. You can go to the CDC, Rochester Regional Health’s website, state and county websites, and more” says Caldwell.
When researching the COVID-19 vaccines, here are some places that offer reliable information:
At the end of the day, everyone has opinions—and everyone should. However, exposure to complete, factual, information before forming an opinion is important—now more than ever.
Today, false information might drive the decision-making process for someone considering the COVID-19 vaccine. During a global pandemic, the distribution of accurate, reliable information can help form opinions based on fact from the very beginning.
“People hear rumors and take them for fact, especially if they don’t hear any other information that combats those rumors. This can interfere with their trust and ability to make an informed decision, which could ultimately negatively impact on their health.”
Increased understanding of the COVID-19 vaccines will likely lead to more confidence in them.
“Every time you read about the vaccines and talk about the vaccines, you’re becoming more comfortable with the information,” says Ebony Caldwell, Officer, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office.
Caldwell continues that being hesitant about the vaccine is okay, but researching reliable sources of information before making a final decision is crucial. “Get educated about the vaccines and ask questions,” says Caldwell. “Make sure you have those conversations with people around you, too.”
The COVID-19 vaccines will work best when everyone in the community has the confidence to be vaccinated. The concept of herd immunity—which is achieved when enough people in a population have developed immunity to a disease that it becomes difficult for it to spread—requires a significant portion of the population to become vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization.
Therefore, education and understanding of the efficacy, safety, and science of the COVID-19 vaccines might just help our community return to normal sooner rather than later.
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