PHCC Answers Your Questions

To supplement our Tough Questions, in this section we answer questions we’ve received by email and during our webinars. Got a communication question? Email us at info@publichealthcollaborative.org. Some of these questions reflect a composite of several questions we’ve received.

How would you recommend addressing that the media is reporting that healthcare providers are not getting the vaccine?

  • Lead with empathy. Explain that, like anyone else, healthcare providers are thinking critically about their own health care decisions. Though they work in the medical field; most are not vaccine experts.
  • Address broader vaccine concerns. Talk about the people behind the vaccine — scientists, health and medical experts, and researchers – and emphasize that every study, every phase, and every trial was reviewed by the FDA and a safety board.
  • Be very clear: the benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh the risks. Vaccination is essential for reopening our economy, getting students back to school, and returning to normal daily activities.
  • Engage local healthcare providers who have been vaccinated to share their story or post on social media. Gather these stories so that if asked about healthcare providers not getting the vaccine, you can pivot to the stories of those who have received it.
  • Use local statistics, if possible. Start by framing your response around the percentage of local health care providers who have received the vaccine.

I live/work in a town located on the border of two regions. How do we reconcile the large percentage spread between the two regions?

  • Remind people that the virus does not respect borders (countries, states, counties, cities, etc.). A single infected person who travels to a different region can start a new outbreak.
  • Address how commuters often work in one region but live in the other. The inter-region commerce strengthens both economies but may pose contradictory guidelines due to regional policies.
  • Encourage residents to stay close to home whenever possible. Emphasize that this is not the time to travel for recreation, and that the safest place to be is close to home.
  • Emphasize that we all have a role to play to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we all benefit in that our health and livelihoods are protected.
  • Clarify the guidelines for slowing the spread and that it’s critical to take the same precautions no matter which region they are in.
    • If your region has stricter guidelines, encourage residents to protect their community by following these precautions even when they cross regional lines because the decisions they make away from home have the biggest impact at home.
    • If the other region has stricter guidelines, remind residents to respect these stricter guidelines when they cross regional lines to protect their community. Use details about the specific guidelines and why they have been set where they are.

I’m being asked about a new rumor about vaccines. How should I respond?

  • We created our Misinformation Alerts section to track misinformation that’s currently circulating and offer guidance about responding. In some cases, it’s best to respond to false information directly. In other cases, a passive response (updating websites and fact sheets and being prepared to respond if asked a question) is appropriate. And sometimes, the best response is no response.
  • One key to responding to misinformation is to be armed with the facts. RealityTeam.org has a good summary of credible sources, which recommends these as reliable sources for fact-checking a debunking misinformation:
  • We also recommend reviewing the Vaccine Misinformation Management Field Guide, created by the Public Good Projects, First Draft, the Yale Institute for Global Health, and UNICEF.