Vaccinations to come with any appointment, aiming for familiar faces to calm those still hesitant

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Vaccinations to come with any appointment, aiming for familiar faces to calm those still hesitant

MADISON (WKOW) -- Health care providers across southern Wisconsin are starting to stock coronavirus vaccines to offer at any appointment

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MADISON (WKOW) — Health care providers across southern Wisconsin are starting to stock coronavirus vaccines to offer at any appointment — part of their multifaceted strategy to earn the trust of those still hesitant to take a vaccine.

At UnityPoint Health – Meriter facilities, physicians will start asking new questions of their patients.

“Have you been vaccinated yet? Would you like to be vaccinated? What questions do you have?” said emergency preparedness safety manager Nathan Bubenzer.

The idea is that people will become more comfortable when they hear information from the nurses and doctors they know and trust, in the comfort of their family doctor’s office.

“There is a great level of comfort and trust that doctors and nurses build up with their patients and clinics, especially over time,” Bubenzer said.

UnityPoint Health – Meriter isn’t alone.

UW Health says it’s rolling vaccines at its primary care centers soon, as well.

“UW Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccines in several primary care clinics throughout Dane County, and will be expanding access to all primary care sites both inside and outside the county in the coming weeks,” said UW Health’s Andrea Wipperfurth in a statement. “Transitioning to patients’ home clinics provides more convenient access to vaccines while mitigating the impact of the virus on our patients and communities.”

Vaccines will be available at SSM Health’s locations too — starting Wednesday at nearly all SSM Health hospitals in Wisconsin.

“It is not uncommon to see patients who come to us for surgical procedures or any other medical conditions who have not been vaccinated,” said SSM’s VP of Pharmacies Mo Kharbat.

SSM’s primary care centers in and around Madison will be some of the first to start offering vaccines during visits, but SSM Health officials are really hoping to make an impact once they can start offering those vaccines in rural primary care centers.

“In rural communities is where we see a high level of vaccine hesitancy,” Kharbat said. “The interaction with the physician there in real time will allow us to answer questions.”

The task for vaccinators in Wisconsin has been finding those hesitant communities and building trust. To do that, mass vaccination clinics transformed into pop-up clinics.

Now, the doctor’s office is becoming another tool — utilizing trust that’s already there.

“It all fits into sort of a master plan that we have, to be honest,” Bubenzer said. “Here’s another opportunity to talk to someone that you trust that has answers to your questions that can make you feel more comfortable about whatever decision you end up making.”

SSM Health says it hopes to have all three vaccines available at all of its primary care centers in Wisconsin in the next four to six weeks. UnityPoint Health – Meriter centers are stocked up right now with Pfizer vaccines, as it’s the only vaccine approved for anyone 12 and older.

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