photo by Ivan Diaz via Unsplash

RiverStone Health Uses Survey Results to Target Vaccine Information

March 1, 2021

by Emily Pinnow 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for Yellowstone County residents. The release of the vaccine added more questions in the minds of community members. RiverStone Health created an online survey to better understand individuals’ perspectives, which was open from December 18 to January 15. I interviewed the public health professionals who conducted the survey and analyzed the results to learn a bit more about what motivated the team to seek feedback.  

RiverStone Health conducted the survey because when the vaccine first became available, there were lots of questions and concerns. The survey's goal was to help better understand community interests and gauge the level of acceptance of the vaccine in Yellowstone County. Justan Baker, Public Health Epidemiologist of RiverStone Health, said one of the most important motivating factors of conducting the survey was to ask questions to make sure they heard all the public's perspectives and concerns that they could to aid with their planning and decision making. 

The survey concluded that about 70% of participants surveyed said they would definitely get the vaccine when available to them. The responses helped them understand some of why individuals are more hesitant toward receiving the vaccine. The biggest community concerns were personal and public safety, as well as concerns about side effects. Many people reported that they feel comfortable receiving the vaccine from their usual health care provider. This is helpful for RiverStone Health as they plan for vaccine distribution in the coming months.  

One of the most important uses of the survey is to help RiverStone Health figure out communication plans and what type of information needs to be included in further public communication, including frequently asked question sheets and public education releases. Shawn Hinz, RiverStone Health’s Vice-President of Public Health Services, explained this information would help hone in on eligibility qualifications, specifically targeting the older population and individuals with underlying health conditions. They now know that it will take a lengthy period to get through the first vaccination tier. It is important to RiverStone Health that they try to make the necessary accommodations to meet those groups where they are. Ultimately, the survey response analysis helped back up some of the hunches they had and will help with planning and expectations moving forward. 

Many people are feeling hesitant, but the survey was helpful in learning how people feel toward the vaccine. When the survey was conducted, the vaccine was new to the public. Moving forward, there will be new information about the vaccine and its effects as it becomes more available. Future attitudes and behaviors might change, but RiverStone Health is doing their best to keep up with community wants and answering questions.  

RiverStone Health is at the forefront of bringing the vaccine to the community. They want to ensure they keep open communication lines and receive necessary feedback from the public to continue keeping the community informed. RiverStone Health shared their appreciation for the responses and time people took to express their hesitancy and feelings. 

The survey results are posted on RiverStone Health’s website. Visit riverstonehealth.org for more information. 

Originally printed in the March 2021 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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