How HCPs Can Use The 3Cs To Combat Vaccine Hesitancy

Often, the way we say something is as important as what we say. That’s a key premise behind the 3Cs (confident, concise, and consistent) approach to adolescent vaccine recommendations and Unity Consortium’s newly released 3Cs program. As the most trusted and influential source of vaccine information for parents, health care providers (HCPs) play a crucial role in a parent’s decision to vaccinate their adolescent children. So, what they say, and how they say it matters — perhaps now more than ever given the rise in vaccine hesitancy in recent years.

Identified by the World Health Organization in 2019 as a top ten threat to global health, vaccine hesitancy has created more challenges for HCPs. It has also magnified the importance of strong HCP vaccine recommendations. With more adolescents, parents, and caregivers voicing concerns and uncertainties about vaccines, Unity’s 3Cs program is designed to help HCPs manage vaccine hesitancy in their practice.

Does my son really need the HPV vaccine?  I thought it was just for girls.”

“Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe? I saw something about it on Instagram.”

“My cousin’s friend told me her kid never gets the flu shot.”

“Can we wait till she’s older to get vaccinated?”

These are the types of questions and concerns HCPs are hearing more and more often. How they address them is vital. It’s these conversations that happen during an office visit that provide the best opportunity to answer questions and get adolescents vaccinated on time or caught up on recommended vaccines. The 3Cs program includes tools, resources, and guides to help HCPs address concerns effectively and move adolescents and parents from vaccine hesitancy towards vaccine confidence and same-day vaccination for all CDC/ACIP recommended adolescent vaccines.

It’s an evidence-based program that demonstrates how HCPs can address common concerns and objections with vaccine recommendations through a variety of frequently- seen scenarios. Research has shown that certain approaches and tools are effective interventions to secure same-day vaccination and avoid missed opportunities to protect adolescents and young adults, while at the same time respectfully responding to parents’ and adolescents’ questions and concerns.

The free, self-guided program features a series of videos demonstrating simple approaches HCPs can apply in their practice including motivational interviewing techniques and shared clinical decision-making. The vignettes, developed in collaboration with the University of Colorado Behavioral Health & Wellness Program and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, HPV Cancer Prevention Program, demonstrate these techniques “in action” when faced with varying degrees of vaccine confidence among adolescents, young adults, and their parents. There’s also a Q&A-style resource guide featuring common questions and concerns about all recommended vaccines, including HPV, COVID-19, and flu. In addition, videos are available with Spanish captions, and Spanish-language sample recommendation language and FAQs.

Given their trusted role in parents’ decision to vaccinate their children, HCPs have a responsibility to effectively respond to questions and concerns by informing, educating, and dispelling misinformation. The 3Cs program helps HCPs do so with confident, concise, and consistent recommendations that can improve the acceptance rate for all recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults.

Visit the 3Cs portal to get started.

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Gregory Zimet

Gregory Zimet

Gregory Zimet is a research consultant and Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is continuing his research collaborations at Indiana, which focus on psychosocial/behavioral issues associated with acceptance of biomedical approaches to the diagnosis and prevention of infections and disease.

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