Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy with Motivational Interviewing 

motivational interviewing

What is Motivational Interviewing? 

Motivational interviewing is an evidence-based approach to help people with ambivalent feelings about something change their behavior. It is a valuable technique for addressing vaccine-hesitant patients and building vaccine confidence. 

The motivational interviewing process includes asking open-ended questions, providing affirmations, offering reflection, and summarizing what you discussed. 

Here are the CDC recommended steps:

  1. Be understanding, genuine, and empathetic, do not argue or debate. Show that you’re open to listening and respond respectfully.
  2. Ask permission to share information about vaccines with them. If they decline, politely ask them why not and if they would be open to a discussion in the future.
  3. Try asking a scaled question like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to get a flu shot?” Then ask why they chose that number. Follow up by asking what it would take to move them to the next number. Your goal is to get them to talk about their choices because speaking out loud can change how they process them. Continue to be curious, genuine, and compassionate. 

When it comes to vaccines, American adults view doctors and nurses as their most trusted source of information. And when healthcare providers take the time to answer parents’ questions and share positive, personal experiences about vaccines, parents are more comfortable choosing to vaccinate their children. 

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