Getting to Yes: A Nursing Home’s Mission to Vaccinate Its Hesitant Staff

To them, the half-hour Tyler Perry video that played repeatedly on a giant screen in the multipurpose room seemed to have no response.

Ms. Sandri, who is of Chinese descent, began to understand. “I’m Asian, but I’m not Japanese, Thai or Indian and they are very different people,” she said. “Unless we understand the cultural sensitivities beyond the major skin color groups, we will not be successful in achieving herd immunity with some of these subgroups.”

She planned to have her maintenance director, a vaccinated African immigrant, speak to reluctant colleagues about his experiences and concerns, and find leaders of local African churches who might be willing to do the same.

She also doubled down on what she thought works best: listening to and addressing her employees’ concerns one at a time – what she described as a “time-consuming, conversational advancement on a case-by-case basis.”

The key, she said, was to tailor her message to what would resonate most with each person.

“For analytical subjects, we provided data on the number of cases, the number of people in studies, and the percentage of people with an immune response,” she said. “For relationship-based thinkers, we asked if they had vulnerable friends or family members and how having or not having the vaccine might affect the relationship.”

However, as the date of the third vaccination event approached in early March, Ms. Proctor was tired – from the pandemic and the long loss of freedoms, but also from hearing at work every day the importance of getting the shot. Ms. Sandri, whose office was just around the corner, stopped by frequently to chat and gently point out the benefits of vaccination.

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