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Nurse-led, science-based: A campaign to arm nurses with COVID-19 vaccine knowledge

By: By Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN; Lynda Benton; and Kate Judge

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, determined nurses and frontline healthcare workers have put patients’ health, safety, and lives above their own to deliver care when the world truly needed it most. Now that safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines are available to the public, nurses play a critical role in vaccine education and administration to combat the public health crisis. 

Additionally, nurses build vaccine confidence and serve as role models for prevention measures to help protect the health of nurses, patients, and communities. In this regard, encouragingly, a comprehensive American Nurses Foundation survey of 22,000 nurses in March 2021 revealed that a majority (70%) of those surveyed self-reported as having received the COVID-19 vaccine. However, among the nurses who reported they have not received the vaccine (30%), those who identify as Black or African American make up the largest percentage (46%) and 29% identify as Hispanic or Latino. (For survey results, visit nursingworld.org/covid-19-survey-series-results.)

The data further reveal that reasons for hesitancy in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine vary, with 66% fearful of short- or long-term side effects and 50% citing not having enough information. The importance of accessible, science-based, culturally relevant, information about vaccines could not be more critical for empowering nurses to make informed decisions for themselves and help them advise individuals in the diverse communities they serve. 

This is why the American Nurses Association (ANA) and Johnson & Johnson came together. The COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses campaign (covidvaccinefacts4nurses.org), led by ANA in collaboration with 19 leading nurse organizations and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, is poised to be a positive force for public health.

Nurse-driven community health leadership, backed by verifiable, culturally relevant vaccine information, will undoubtedly help drive improved patient outcomes. ANA President Ernest Grant has been an adamant voice about the importance of vaccination for Black and Brown communities, in which vaccine hesitancy tends to be higher. Armed with additional verifiable knowledge, nurses can directly address the doubts of the diverse communities and individuals where and with whom they live and work.

In the coming months, the COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses campaign will:

  • equip nurses with scientifically sound, culturally relevant, verifiable information about vaccines. From a dynamic online hub of easily accessible and shareable resources to live discussions with vaccine researchers, this alliance strives to reach nurses with culturally relevant information. The campaign also offers webinars and virtual town halls to connect nurses directly with scientists, researchers, and others involved in the vaccine development process. 
  • empower nurses to make informed decisions for themselves and to confidently advise the communities they serve. Nurses play an essential role in informing and advising patients. This campaign’s resources will empower nurses to confidently respond to questions.
  • underscore nursing professionals as critical, experienced leaders in vaccine education and administration. The campaign prominently features the voices of diverse nurse leaders and scientific researchers, offering relevant and engaging information.

Nurses’ longstanding vital role in vaccine education and administration takes center stage in the COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses campaign. This dynamic resource provides frontline health workers with timely, accurate information to drive much-needed, improved patient outcomes.

We encourage you to review and share this campaign and its resources with other nurses and healthcare professionals at COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses (covidvaccinefacts4nurses.org). 

Ernest Grant is president of the American Nurses Association, Lynda Benton is senior director, Global Corporate Equity and Partnerships at Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., and Kate Judge is executive director of the American Nurses Foundation.

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