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Vaccine Hesitancy


What is vaccine hesitancy?

The 3Cs of vaccine hesitancy

1. Complacency – low perceived risk of disease, other life/health issues are a greater priority

2. Convenience – geographic accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability of services

3. Confidence– low levels of trust in vaccines, the delivery system and in health professionals

Who can help tackle the problem?

Healthcare professionals – GPs, nurses, medical students through advice and safe practice

The Government – Government schemes promoting uptake, public campaigns and fair resource allocation

The Government – Government schemes promoting uptake, public campaigns and fair resource allocation

The Public – through raising awareness, social media and peer support for those hesitating to have their vaccine

Aspects to consider

Patient choice – remember patients are responsible for their own informed choices; never override it as it could erode trust

Patient knowledge – make sure the patient is fully informed from reliable sources, allow them to present their current knowledge

Patient autonomy – should always be respected and taken into consideration as the patient is ultimately in charge of their own care

Patient environment – think of the patient’s surrounding, family, friends, socioeconomic background and resources

Top interview tips

Take a neutral side – explore all possible sides and options

Validate the patient’s concerns – demonstrate empathy and open-mindness

Prove your knowledge – demonstrate your insight into the topic

Stay calm – do not involve your own opinion or impose your biases onto the patient


A 30-year old healthy patient is hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Discuss their concerns with them.

Approaching the question

Start with an open question – this should be a very wide question like “what are your concerns?” or “what are you afraid of?”

Validate the patient’s ideas – make sure to let the patient know that you are not judging them and that their concerns are important to you

Stay calm and explain – now it is your turn to bring your knowledge into play and to give an explanation for the patient’s concerns

Finish by checking on the patient – make sure to check how to patient is feeling and to also check their understanding of your explanations

Key points

1. Vaccine Hesitancy questions are very likely to come up – ensure you are comfortable with this topic

2. Always have the Ethical Principles in mind – this will allow you to structure your answer and cover breadth of knowledge

3. Try to keep a neutral view – do not let your own biases cloud your judgement

4. Read around the topic – you can use our website


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