Dave Bennett, CEO pCare
The greatest honor of my life was serving in the US Military. Memorial Day is always a special time of reflection for me. Like many, my family served in the armed forces as part of “American’s greatest generation”. They returned home from WWII and Korea to help build this great country with an increased sense of duty, love for our nation and liberty. They in turn spread this deep love for our country to the next generation who in turn stepped forward once again to sacrifice for love of country. Over the years I have had the honor of meeting many of these veterans. Each encounter has been unique and many memorable. All these veterans have two things in common and that is the “can-do” attitude and love for our country.
This year, my feelings of gratitude are more expansive than ever. As I write this, news is hitting that over 50% of US adults are vaccinated from COVID19. Nothing could highlight the “can-do” attitude of America better than the development of a series of COVID vaccines in record time.
Vaccination success across the country was made possible in large part by the healthcare heroes who have been caring for us since the pandemic first swept across the nation in 2020. Additionally, National Guard and other military units were mobilized at mass vaccination sites across the country helping to quickly ramp up and reach this phenomenal vaccination milestone. So, as we give thanks to those who have helped us triumph over the threat of COVID, it’s also the perfect time to remember those who have given their lives over the course of time to protect this nation.
Throughout the summer, I believe we’ll be hearing a lot of stories about the 20 – 30% of people who are not getting the COVID vaccine. As people of science, we want to see these folks get vaccinated. Actions such as cajoling, demonizing, and guilt-tripping are not going to help us accomplish this task. Vaccines offer us all hope but as Americans we must recognize that we are a country of freedom. That is, we are free to make our own healthcare decisions. As health care professionals we are also free to share our thoughts and help aide the public in understanding why vaccinating our population can provide protection for all Americans. I believe if we focus on the following 3 objectives, we can help increase the vaccination rates in our country.
- Understand why folks are hesitant. There are a variety of reasons. Do not paint with a broad brush.
- Address the objections, one-by-one, with transparent educational content that is accessible to the patient and the public.
- Repeat what works. Find alternatives for those that don’t.
My point is that we have an opportunity to use the common ground of a universal desire of good health at the individual level and the tools and best practices of patient engagement to help address some of the polarization in our society today. We have faced deadly diseases in the past and have conquered them through our desire to care for one another. Need I remind the readers of the demise of the iron lung as a result of our triumph over polio through the development of a vaccine? Lastly, I suggest we look back at history where time and time again when we come together not as tribes but as Americans, we can do anything!
I wish all of you a happy and peaceful Memorial Day Weekend and want to express my sincerest thanks to the millions of American Veterans for their service and sacrifice.