Vaccine Hesitancy: What Can Pharmacists Do?

In the wake of second wave of COVID-19 infection, the government of Malaysia had allocated RM2.05 billion to purchase three types of COVID-19 vaccines which are Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from America and Germany, Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from United Kingdom and China’s Sinovac vaccine. The total vaccines bought are adequate to cover more than 80 percent of the country’s population or 26.5 million Malaysians. To find out society’s level of acceptance towards COVID-19 vaccines, a survey had been carried out by the Ministry of Health (MoH), Malaysia on the end of December 2020 through online. 

Based on the result, it was found out that majority Malaysians are willing to receive COVID-19 vaccines once they are available in market. However, there is also small population in the society who are hesitant or reluctant to receive the vaccines. One of their main worry is people have low level of confidence on the safety level of vaccines as well as the trustworthiness of their manufacturers.

To solve this situation, pharmacists should provide more explanations about vaccines to people to increase their level of understanding and confidence towards the vaccines. Most of the concerns arise from the feeling of fear because lots of false information about vaccines are being spread on social media by anti-vaxxers. It is also significant for pharmacists to build a trusting relationship with patients by telling them the truth of possible side effects after vaccination.

In a nutshell, COVID-19 vaccines are important in breaking the chain of COVID-19 virus transmission and pharmacists play a vital role in ensuring the success of immunisation program.