As diabetes educators, we educate individuals with diabetes on the importance of the yearly influenza vaccine. Well, we have officially started influenza season, and I am having a difficult time convincing some patients on the importance of receiving the flu vaccine. Many times, patients have misconceptions about the purpose of the vaccine and many patients have told me they think they will get a more severe case of the flu.
Then, I have the other group of patients who value the importance of receiving the seasonal flu vaccine. People’s perceptions have changed since the H1N1 influenza season outbreak last year. Patients who were resistant last year are more willing to be immunized this year and are actively seeking locations in which to receive the immunization. I think the role of mass media awareness conducted by the CDC, state and local health departments, and retail clinics have been crucial in educating the public. Influenza and the associated complications are costly, not only in monetary value but in decreased quality of life, morbidity, and mortality.
I encourage all educators to spread the word on the importance of vaccination and help individuals find resources.
How do others convince or encourage patients to receive the influenza vaccine? Please share your success stories.