Health experts should focus on messages to build public trust around a COVID-19 vaccine and tamp down the hype around the innovative and sophisticated technologies that are being leveraged to rapidly develop such a vaccine, according to a New England Journal of Medicine Perspective article co-authored by Barry Bloom, Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Research Professor of Public Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The Sept. 8 article suggested that more emphasis should be put on the fact that recently released guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing and approving a vaccine are scientifically sound and that the agency will not make any compromises when it comes to evaluating the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The article also suggested that more efforts should be made to highlight to the public that the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have plans for a robust long-term vaccine safety and monitoring system.
“There is already a flood of misinformation on social media and from anti-vaccine activists about new vaccines that could be licensed for Covid-19,” the authors wrote. “If recent surveys suggesting that about half of Americans would accept a Covid-19 vaccine are accurate, it will take substantial resources and active, bipartisan political support to achieve the uptake levels needed to reach herd immunity thresholds.”