With patience and respect, a Montreal doctor convinced a hesitant colleague to get the vaccine
When Monique Dupriez saw her family, friends and colleagues lining up to get the shot, she was adamant there was no way she’d get the shot.
“I had a reaction to a vaccine when I was a child and I lost a girl who reacted to a vaccine so I was hesitant to take it,” Dupriez said quietly.
The Montreal CHUM patient attendant doesn’t like to talk about the death of her daughter – she was only two years old – but the loss left a painful scar.
“I am not anti-vaccine. I am in favor of the vaccine for everyone, but not for me.”
Enter Dr. Ingrid Marchand, who had rushed to get vaccinated as soon as she was eligible.
“We have to focus on the fact that we have to step aside and think about the community and think about the general fight against the pandemic and the virus,” she said.
Marchand and Dupriez have worked together in the emergency room for almost 15 years. When one of Dupriez’s supervisors suggested that she talk to Marchand about the vaccine, she went.
“She seemed very aware of the vaccine,” Dupriez said, smiling at Marchand. “She told me she cared about me.
Marchand says that after 18 months of working in a pandemic, the staff are just plain tired.
“When you see that most people who go to intensive care are not vaccinated, it’s hard for me to understand. It seems obvious that this is a necessary tool to fight the pandemic and the virus.”
The doctor says she is gently trying to persuade unvaccinated COVID-19 patients to get vaccinated.
“I think we don’t want to go into judgment and condemnation. I think we just have to keep talking and explaining to each other, trying to answer questions and trying to convince them that it’s a good thing for them. and for everyone. “
This is the approach she took with Dupriez.
Respect fear and apprehension
“We had a few discussions in a few weeks,” Marchand explained. “We took the time. It was very friendly, very nice.”
“We explained why she was worried. What was she really worried about with the vaccine?
“We talked about how it went for everyone. We talked about all the positive effects of the vaccine, the statistics. We talked about all of that.”
They were emotional conversations.
There were tears.
I think we don’t want to go into judgment and condemnation. I think we just need to keep talking to each other… try to convince them that it’s good for them and for everyone.– Dr Ingrid Marchand, on the interview with the unvaccinated
Marchand realized that Dupriez had legitimate concerns about the vaccine but, after hours of arguing, she was convinced.
She will be fully vaccinated by the time the government deadline for healthcare workers arrives on November 15.
Dupriez is happy with her decision – she says she made it for herself, her loved ones and her patients – but she was worried until the end.
After talking with Marchand, it took him another month to finally make his appointment. “I felt like I was playing Russian roulette.”
And she didn’t have the jab just to keep her job. Dupriez is expected to retire in December anyway. Before speaking to Marchand, she had planned to take early retirement rather than being suspended.
Marchand is convinced that his appeals have paid off.
“I gave her a big hug and told her I was really proud of her,” she said, hugging Dupriez and rubbing his back affectionately.
Extending the deadline the right decision, according to the doctor
There are still tens of thousands of unvaccinated health care workers in the system in Quebec.
Quebec had planned to impose a vaccination mandate on health care workers and suspend without pay those who did not comply. But on October 13, two days before the original deadline, Health Minister Christian Dubé backed down, announcing that the province would give workers until November 15 to get the necessary vaccines.
By the time the extension was announced, 93 percent of Quebec’s healthcare workers were fully immunized, but there were still nearly 22,000 threatened with suspension, and Dubé said the system would not be able to handle the loss of so many staff.
Marchand believes the government made the right decision in extending the immunization deadline to allow hospitals to prepare for the mass suspension of unvaccinated workers.
It’s not clear if this expansion will convince many to get the hang of it, but Marchand says it at least saves time for other achievements like Dupriez’s.
According to her, stories will happen if people are treated with respect and given the information they need to change their minds. Threats are not the solution, insists Marchand.
“I think it’s just giving more time for communication. I think we have to keep the dialogue going and try to answer all the questions. “