HealthSci works to improve vaccine literacy in KFL&A

Experts talk vaccine hesitancy

Queen’s Health Sciences awarded with $440,000 to promote COVID-19 vaccination.

Queen’s Health Sciences has been awarded $440,000 for a project promoting COVID-19 vaccination across the Kingston, Frontenac, Lexington, and Addington (KFL&A) region.

Funded by the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF), the local project aims to increase confidence in and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines.

Rosemary Wilson, associate professor in the School of Nursing in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, and Nancy Dalgarno, director of the education scholarship in the Office of Professional Development and Educational Scholarship at Queen’s Health Sciences, discussed the project with The Journal.

“One of the most important things to start with is that our goal is to develop some strategies and resources that are appropriate to the Kingston community,” Wilson said in an interview with The Journal.

The project aims to help those who have challenges accessing health care and people who are hesitant to get vaccinated in particular.

“It’s important to develop some tools and educational materials that are appropriate to service providers in this area, and particularly appropriate for those who have different access,” Wilson said.

Delgarno said the project also focuses on vaccine literacy.

“The strategies that we’re developing […] make sure that [vaccine literature is] very evidence-informed so that it will increase confidence and acceptance […] based specifically on community needs within the KFL&A region,” Delgarno said.

According to Wilson and Delgarno, the project is comprised of family and public health physicians from KFL&A public health, Queen’s Health Science Leadership, a clinician librarian, researchers, and educational developers.

“We have Grandma Kate, who’s an Indigenous Elder supporting us in this work as well—she’s incredibly knowledgeable about her community of Indigenous peoples in the Kingston area,” Wilson noted.

Wilson said the team is currently looking at the literature surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’re looking at the literature and the themes that keep emerging, [like] some distrust of the healthcare system,” Wilson said.

“There’s definitely contextual influences—they all play a role in vaccine hesitancy,” Delgarno added.

Factors like misinformation, distrust, and lack of access to information all contribute to an individual’s decision around getting vaccinated.

The team is focusing on “contextualizing” what information is needed to develop effective education on the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is really important because it will develop some important processes and ideas that can be shared with other jurisdictions as well,” Wilson said.

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