Local physicians share experiences working with vaccine-hesitant patients

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:02 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 12:20 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - “Every little bit is a step closer.”

That’s what family physician Dr. Laura Miller tweeted last week after administering nine first vaccine doses at her clinic.

That includes four members of a hesitant family who she’d been talking to for months.

“With any of my patients who are not vaccinated, I tell them this is not the last time you’ll hear me ask about your COVID vaccine,” Dr. Miller said.

Everyone has different reasons for getting the shot, and the process of getting patients comfortable enough to do so differs every time. That’s why Dr. Miller said persistence is key.

“If they’re not ready at that time, we say, ‘Hey, I understand, we’ll revisit it,’” she said. Luckily, some of these people are choosing to get vaccinated.”

Turner Care CEO and Jackson Physician Dr. Justin Turner also took to social media last week after administering first vaccine doses to patients he’d been working with for months. He said it’s important to meet patients where they are.

“For my patients that are electricians and mechanics, being able to use analogies like, ‘Hey, look, I don’t expect you to come to me and ask me how to fix your motor. I don’t expect you to come to me on how to fix your plumbing. At the same time, as relates to the vaccine and COVID and all of that, I expect you to come to me and ask me,’” Dr. Turner said.

He said some patients tell him they don’t trust the government enough to get the vaccine.

“And I say, ‘Hey, we’re not asking you to trust the government, but I do want you to trust me: the same person you trusted for the last 10 years with your heart disease, with your diabetes. I’m still that same person,’” he said.

Both physicians see first-hand the cases, the hospitalizations, and the bad outcomes. That’s why they said administering even just one first vaccine dose is as exciting now as it was in the beginning.

Both Dr. Miller and Dr. Turner encourage anyone with questions about the vaccine to talk with their doctors and not let the internet or social media guide their decision.

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