News from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation
There is good news to report. As of August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug administration (FDA) granted full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years and older. This marks the first time such a vaccine has been granted this status since the pandemic began. The vaccine is available for individuals aged 12 through 15, under the FDA’s initial emergency use authorization (EUA), while a third dose is also currently authorized for immunocompromised individuals.
Research from the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that overwhelmingly Americans trust their physician more than other health care information sources. So, why is it with 96% of physicians nationally vaccinated, there remains such uncertainty from their patients?
A National Public Radio poll shared that 84 to 89% of adults trust their physician. This response was similar across all political parties. Physicians surpassed every other category, including spiritual and faith leaders. Based on these studies, it has been suggested that family practice physicians are the best megaphone to deliver the message regarding the importance of getting vaccinated.
In an article for “MedPage Today,” gastroenterologist Chau Che, affiliated with Temple Physicians Group, shares that while she never expected to offer vaccine advice to her patients, she has an approach that takes just two minutes at the end of the appointment. It allows patients to ask questions and her to gently encourage them to open up about their hesitancy. She acknowledges her patient’s apprehension and talks to them about misinformation they may have heard. She reminds them that their physician is a trusted relationship with their best interest in mind. She shares her personal experience receiving the vaccine and why it was the best decision for her family. She also offers to help get their vaccination appointment scheduled.
Does this personal touch make a difference? Since employing this method, Che shares that 80% of her vaccine-hesitant patients have agreed to get the vaccine. For those who are still contemplating their decision, she extends an offer to help them if and when they are ready.
Science tell us that no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing illness. However they are an effective and crucial tool to help get the pandemic under control. Some fully vaccinated people may get sick, but the illness tends to be far less severe and the risk of hospitalization and death is low.
Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) is experiencing its biggest COVID-19 surge since the beginning of the pandemic. Averaging between 22 and 26 hospitalized COVID-19 patients a day, it has been extremely challenging on healthcare workers and other essential positions.
In addition, the hospital continues to manage a high level of emergency department visits and admissions for other health needs. While the lift is heavy, hospital personnel are effectively and efficiently managing all levels of care and want our community to know that if you have an emergency or are admitted to SNMH, you will receive amazing care from a team that cares deeply for you.
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