Oct 12, 2021
By Ben Olsen , Wesley Shand
Commentary: how you can be a better advocate for vaccines and public health
As I write this, my attention is divided while I also closely monitor the feeds and email for new information and updates. How many more cases today? Surgeries postponed? ICU admissions and deaths?
Stories of hope and resilience don’t capture the gravity or extent of the current situation. They seem misplaced considering that this is preventable, even reversible. Yet there is increasing indifference to and, worse, retaliation against the ones who have stepped up without judgment or shame, ready to serve. While the debate swirls about government actions (or lack thereof), the fact remains: health-care workers are growing tired of caring for those who chose to avoid a widely available vaccine. Canada’s nurses and doctors are on the verge of having nothing left to give.
We can’t expect health-care providers, or the system, to do all the work that needs to be done to reverse course. Citizens across the country have been organizing to lend a hand booking appointments, arranging travel and solving logistical problems since day one.
It’s time to pivot that support toward the communication front and change the conversation around vaccine hesitancy and resistance to public health measures that save lives and prevent system failures at every scale.
Our article last week on the role of nurse as influencer, How you can be a better advocate for vaccines and public health, has some practical guidance for crafting and delivering messages that don’t just resonate but motivate and provoke real action. We are all tired, and the deck is stacked in many ways. So this call is a simple one: If not you, then who? If not here, then where? If not now, then when?