"We have to be empathetic" BCBS doctors lead national conversation about COVID-19 vaccinations

Published April 8, 2021

Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are taking a proactive approach to COVID-19 vaccinations by answering questions and providing facts to combat misinformation.

Doctors across the country are leading conversations to encourage Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccination as supplies become available.  An essential part of that conversation involves the acknowledgement that some Americans have questions about vaccines. 

"I think we just have to be empathetic," says Dr. Andrea Willis, chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee. (BCBST)  "Before we are medical professionals., we are sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, and parents. We have to talk about how it can be beneficial for people to get vaccines. "

Dr. Willis says vaccine hesitancy among communities of color is particularly important because of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 infections as well as health inequities that have created barriers to trusting the medical community. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also addresses the topic of vaccinations and health inequities with guidance for doctors on how to engage in effective vaccine conversations.

"I think what we have to do is really put ourselves in the shoes of the people that are out there that are genuinely scared. How do we acknowledge the fears they have because glossing over those fears is a total mistake," says Willis.

Learn more about ways that Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are supporting vaccination efforts around the country. 

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 35 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.