Live Q&A video with an MS specialist addresses disease-specific concerns that had held patients back from “definitely getting” the vaccine. Suggests path for all chronic conditions.
64% of participants polled during a recent live MyMSTeam Q&A event featuring Aaron Boster, M.D. and multiple sclerosis specialist, said they will take the COVID vaccine when it becomes available to them. Compare this to the poll results when we asked the same question during the December event: only 31% said they would get it.
What changed? In the course of the one-hour event, Dr. Boster addressed all of the key concerns and questions raised by real MS patients regarding the COVID vaccine. They heard an actual expert in their disease talk specifically about the vaccine and MS for the first time. Members of MyMSTeam, our social network for people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), submitted over 300 questions in advance of the event.
Many of their questions were grounded in concern about anything that might trigger a flareup in their chronic condition, or about the implications of staying on immunosuppressive therapies while getting the vaccine. They also shared frustration about the lack of proactive communication from their own doctors about the Covid vaccine.
In a survey of 872 MyMSTeam members, only 17% said they’ve been contacted by their doctor about the Covid vaccine.
Eight key questions remained hurdles that needed to be addressed before they could get comfortable getting the COVID vaccine.
Will the vaccine worsen my MS symptoms? (61% of respondents)
Am I likely to experience a serious reaction to the vaccine? (50%)
Should I expect side effects from the vaccine? (49%)
What do I need to know about the long-term safety of the vaccine? (47%)
Will the vaccine interfere with my MS medications? (41%)
What’s the effectiveness of the vaccine for someone with MS? (35%)
How and when should I get the vaccine (22%)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) recommends that people with autoimmune conditions such as MS get the vaccine – but that is not enough. Hearing directly from a disease expert gives patients confidence in the vaccine and in the decision to “definitely get it.” We are finding this to be the case not just in MS but in other chronic conditions as well, including heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
With more states opening up eligibility for COVID vaccinations to patients with chronic conditions, now is the time to proactively reach those patients and address the concerns we know they have about the vaccine. It just takes one or two highly-respected, patient-friendly experts in each therapeutic area, willing to spend 60 minutes or less addressing common questions on video, and then blasting that link out to everyone with the condition. Dr. Boster’s video reaches the 162,000 registered members of MyMSTeam and thousands more who access the article from the web.
There is massive pent-up demand for this type of information. More than 700 MS patients registered for the last event we hosted with Dr. Boster. Check out the replays of our past sessions or sign up to join the March event and see for yourself the power of patient education at scale. Next up: Dr. Boster will address the hot-topic issues surrounding Cognition, Mental Health and Mobility.
What do you see working well in patient education today? I’d love to hear about it. Comment here or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.