As vaccines start to roll out on a large scale in Ontario, health experts are concerned some people are developing preferences about which shot in the arm they want.
“People can get this false sense that one vaccine is a lot better than the other,” said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious diseases physician. “I fear that people will not want to get one of the vaccines because they fear it’s not effective.”
While many of the publications surrounding the vaccines focus on their efficacy rate at preventing a COVID-19 infection at all, some doctors say the real numbers to zero in on from the vaccine trials are hospitalization and death rates.
“All of these vaccines, the three right now that we have approved in Canada, are 100 per cent or almost 100 per cent effective at preventing hospitalization and preventing death,” said Chakrabarti.
For those who are unsure about getting vaccinated, behavioural scientists say open conversation needs to remain part of the process.
“Help them understand whether there are differences between the vaccines for them as individuals and help them be comfortable with the decision they are going to make,” said Laura Desveaux from Women’s College Hospital. “With the people I have spoken to… they just want to be confident the decision they are making is the right decision and is a safe decision.”
As more people have the opportunity to make that choice, the message from those on the front lines is clear: all approved vaccines will help get the pandemic under control and reduce risk, especially in emergency rooms and for those needing critical care.
“That means no overflowing hospitals, no overflowing ICU (intensive care unit) beds,” said emergency room physician Dr. Steve Flindall. “No hard decisions about who’s going to get our limited resources.”