But doctors aren’t always sure whether their conversations with patients persuaded them to get the vaccine or not. They should be paid for having had the conversation in the first place. Many other countries are doing it. For example, Australia recently instituted discounts for general practitioners who provide advice on Covid-19 vaccines.
Persuading people to get vaccinated often requires a lot of discussion. Ideally, as part of any appointment, doctors will urge unvaccinated patients to get the Covid-19 vaccine and discuss any concerns. If the doctor does this for more than a few minutes (for example, more than three minutes, similar to the doctor’s reimbursement threshold for smoking cessation advice), the doctor may request a refund. Doctors should be able to bill for multiple counseling sessions with the same patient up to a reasonable limit of three times a year.
Other ongoing efforts, such as increasing access to vaccines and streamlining the immunization process, remain important. To this day, many people worry about the cost of vaccines even if they are free. Vaccination sites should stop asking for insurance information.
The most effective vaccination message is one that comes from a trusted source and not only leads listeners to get vaccinated, but also motivates them to encourage others around them to do so as well. This is what we need, as people become complacent with the benefits of vaccinating others. Health care providers have this hold and all health workers should work together to increase immunization rates.