New Ariadne Labs Toolkit for Providers Aims to Boost Patients’ Confidence in the COVID-19 Vaccine

May 6, 2021

To help increase public confidence in being vaccinated against COVID-19, Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health system innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, today released the COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Toolkit.

The toolkit – available in a free download here – is designed to support primary care and other medical providers and practices when having conversations with patients who express concern or have questions about being vaccinated. It contains a step-by-step conversation guide and a patient-oriented handout that addresses the most common concerns about the vaccine. The toolkit aims to help care providers and practices have respectful and science-based conversations with patients about COVID-19 vaccines.

The toolkit was developed by an Ariadne Labs team after careful research on the most recent medical information available, with direct feedback from healthcare providers and patients. It was developed with equity and accessibility as key priorities in order to empower primary care providers and practices to have respectful and science-based conversations with patients.   

“With tools drawing from motivational interviewing, we hope that it will help providers listen to patients and guide their decision-making,”  said Ariadne Labs Chief Medical Officer Evan Benjamin, MD, MS, FACP. 

The toolkit is designed to support primary care providers in a role as “trusted messengers.”   

About 75 percent of adults across different racial and ethnic groups, including Latino (64%), Black (71%), and Asian (74%), have a  primary care provider and a majority of all groups said  they would be “very likely” to get vaccinated at their own doctor’s office. 

Vaccination is the most reliable way to bring the pandemic under control.While a recent survey shows about 32 percent of the American population has been vaccinated and another 30 percent intends to do so, about 7 percent of those surveyed say they will only be vaccinated “if required” and another 13 percent said they would “definitely not get it.”About 17 percent expressed a “wait and see” attitude. 

Such reluctance could prolong the pandemic, said Dr. Benjamin. Reluctance about the vaccine is found across race, geography, gender, and political affiliation, although specific questions and concerns can vary across  population groups, he noted. 

“No single message or public figure will reach everyone. Trusted messengers can individually deliver evidence-based information with conversations that emphasize empathy, credibility, and clarity,” Dr. Benjamin said. 

The conversation guide allows patients to express their concerns, ask questions and receive evidence-based information delivered in easy-to understand terms. “The goal is to be empathetic and not shame people for feeling unsure or having questions. Our research tells us that health care providers should be communicating that the vaccines work, they are safe, and they are backed by science,” Dr. Benjamin said.