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PAHO/WHO to examine COVID19 Caribbean vaccine uptake

PAHO/WHO to examine COVID19 Caribbean vaccine uptake

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In order to assist country officials to better understand the concerns, attitudes and intended practices of Caribbean health care workers regarding COVID-19 vaccines, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) subregional Caribbean office has launched a survey which will inform a targeted regional communication campaign for this priority group.

According to a release, the survey will target health care workers in 14 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The study will seek to ascertain attitudes to vaccines in general, intentions to take and recommend COVID-19 vaccines, factors influencing these intentions, and general attitudes towards the COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

PAHO/WHO has recommended that health care providers be the first group to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Health care workers are also recognized as significant influencers of health-related attitudes and behaviours related to vaccination in their communities. This group is being prioritized for communications to support them in accepting COVID-19 vaccines, as well as to ensure they are equipped to share correct knowledge with their patients and other members of the public.
“Targeting health care workers with accurate communication and information regarding COVID-19 vaccines is critical to the success of the rollout of vaccines,” said Jessie Schutt-Aine, Caribbean Subregional Program Coordinator at PAHO.

Schutt-Aine continued: “the COVID-19 vaccines have been the topic of significant mis and dis-information. Through this survey, PAHO is assessing the perceptions on the COVID-19 vaccines in the Caribbean and future activities will be geared to the general public to promote high uptake of the vaccines, which is key to recovery from the effects of the pandemic.”  

Healthcare providers have been shown to be the most trusted source of information on vaccination in various studies. It is hoped that the results of the PAHO survey will also guide the development of public policy, with the goal of increasing vaccine acceptance, improving confidence and enabling effective championing of the vaccine to the population.