This video is sponsored by VaxServe, a Sanofi Pasteur company.

Pam: Rob, I need some guidance on how to talk to patients about getting their vaccinations. ... Well, I know how vitally important it is for Mrs. Duncan to get her flu vaccine. She didn’t get it last year, and she got really sick.

Rob: I know what you mean. It’s hard to see our patients getting sick, especially from diseases like the flu, which we know can be so easily prevented.

Pam: Every time Mrs. Duncan has been in this flu season, I’ve asked her if she wants the flu vaccine. But she either says she doesn’t have time or makes another excuse.

Rob: The very first thing to know is that as her pharmacist, your recommendation really does matter. I’ll share with you a behavior-centered strategy that I find works well when talking to our patients. It’s called the AGREE approach, which stands for:
  • Assume
  • Guide
  • Reinforce
  • Establish
  • Execute

First of all, begin with the assumption that patients are ready to get the flu vaccine and announce that they can take care of it today.
  • Start with a statement, instead of asking, “Would you like to get the flu vaccine?”
Listen carefully. Then guide them from any misperceptions to clear facts. 
  • Use open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a single word
Remind patients why the flu vaccine is so important.
  • Consider sharing statistics about chronic conditions or age groups that are relevant to the patient
Consolidate every conversation you have with patients by re-establishing the trust that you have with them.

When patients have been successfully moved from hesitant to accepting—VACCINATE!

Pam: This helps a lot, Rob. These strategies can help me be a better communicator, protector, and advocate for our patients.

Rob: Here comes Mrs. Duncan—this is your chance!

Mrs D: Hi there, Pam, it’s nice to see you! I have a prescription to pick up.

Pam: OK, Mrs. D, let me get that for you now. And while you’re here, let’s take care of your flu vaccine for the season.

Mrs D: Oh, I don’t know, Pam. I’m in a hurry, and I’m not really sure I need it. Don’t think a little case of the flu could hurt me that much.

Pam: I understand, but getting the flu can be dangerous, especially for people ages 50 and older with chronic conditions like diabetes, chronic lung disease, and heart disease.1-5 Fortunately, the flu vaccine can help protect you. During the 2017-2018 flu season alone, it’s estimated that vaccination helped prevent over 7 million cases of the flu, 109,000 flu-related hospitalizations, and 8,000 flu-related deaths.6 

Mrs D: But it’s already February. Isn’t it too late to get the shot?

Pam: Not at all. The flu season usually begins in October, but it can even last into spring.7

Pam: The flu vaccine is a fast, easy way to protect yourself. I get it every year, and I make sure my mom does, too. It only takes about 5 minutes to get it done—are you ready to get your flu vaccination?

Mrs. D: Yes!

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Influenza (flu): people at high risk for flu complications. Accessed July 6, 2019.
  2. Wang C-S, Want S-T, Lai C-T, Lin L-J, Chou P. Impact of influenza vaccination on major cause-specific mortality. Vaccine. 2007;25:1196-1203.
  3. CDC, AARP, American Medical Association. Promoting Preventive Services for Adults 50-64: Community and Clinical Partnerships. Atlanta, GA: National Association of Chronic Disease Directors; 2009.
  4. Gerteis J, Izrael D, Deitz D, et al. Multiple Chronic Conditions Chartbook. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2014. AHRQ publication Q14-0038.
  5. Ward BW, Schiller JS, Goodman RA. Multiple chronic conditions among US adults: a 2012 update. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:E62.
  6. CDC. Interim estimates of 2018-19 seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness—United States, February 2019. MMWR. 2019; 68(6):135-139.
  7. CDC. Influenza (flu): the flu season. Accessed July 16, 2019.