Last Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH announced the Power of Providers (POP) Initiative to continue to encourage all health care providers in the state to reach out and talk to their patients about COVID-19 vaccination. As the state continues its vaccination work and shifts to more community-based efforts, health providers from a variety of sectors are pivotal in increasing COVID-19 vaccinations in an equitable manner.
In partnership with 12 associations and commissions across public health and health care, the state Department of Health (DOH) is asking providers to take the Power of Providers community vaccination commitment to take four simple steps with each patient:
- SEEK. Proactively reach out to their patients or clients to find out if they have received COVID-19 vaccination and invite them to do so, if they have not.
- ASK/EDUCATE. Ask patients at every visit if they are vaccinated or check their immunization records. If the patient is not vaccinated, provide information and education on the COVID-19 vaccine, recommend it and offer it.
- VACCINATE. If the patient is interested, provide vaccination right then or give them a referral to a COVID-19 vaccine location using vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov or by calling 833-VAX-HELP.
- EMPOWER. Empower vaccinated patients to share their vaccination status with friends, family and others they know. Order free stickers and buttons from DOH to give to vaccinated patients. Empower staff to talk with patients and people in their own lives about the importance of vaccines and their vaccination status.
If a patient isn’t ready to get vaccinated yet, providers can share trustworthy resources and encourage the patient to review them later to learn more.
“As a trusted source of health information, providers can play an essential role in educating patients and advocating for vaccination,” said Secretary Shah. “We know their help will make a difference as we continue working to reach more than three million people in our state who are not yet protected by the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine, especially in areas and groups of people at high risk because of lower vaccination rates.”
DOH is also asking providers to continue supporting equitable access to vaccination by using community-specific resources for outreach and engagement.