The Role of the Pharmacist in Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy

Yvette C. Terrie, BS Pharm, RPh


US Pharmacist. 2021;46(4):28-31. 

In This Article

Measures to Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Pharmacists can overcome vaccine hesitancy by providing them with the facts about vaccines, including efficacy and safety data. They can also help to dispel common myths and misconceptions about vaccines and address patient concerns and fears.

When counseling patients about vaccines, pharmacists can engage them in conversation and use open-ended questions to obtain more information. For example:[14,17,22,23]

  • Find out the patient's concerns and fears about vaccines and address them with safety and efficacy information when applicable

  • Listen to the patient and acknowledge their fears or concerns and make them feel at ease by providing them with pertinent facts

  • Provide patients with information about how vaccines work and how the immune system responds to vaccines to build immunity

  • Provide patients with information on the clinical benefits of vaccines and the importance of staying up- to-date with ACIP-recommended vaccinations. Review the health implications associated with not obtaining vaccines for vaccine-preventable diseases

  • Discuss the potential adverse effects and how they are addressed. Use the fact sheets available from the CDC or other reputable health organizations such as the IAC

  • Share personal experiences with vaccines to build a level of trust

  • Answer patient questions and make recommendations accordingly

  • Instruct patients to discuss any further concerns with their primary healthcare provider and obtain the provider's recommendations based on their medical and medication history