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The U.S. is at a pivotal moment in the nationwide campaign to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible, according to the just-released American Journal of Public Health’s June podcast, “Is this the vaccine roll out tipping point?"
As more than half of American adults are now able to report at least one shot of the COVID vaccine in their arm, indicating a near complete wave of those most eager to receive it as demand begins to slow down, questions loom over how to effectively reach those who are left.
“Now that the people who want the vaccine have gotten it, we’re at the point where we need to start convincing people who may have doubts that this is the right thing for them and that this is the way for all of us to return to a normal life,” said David Broniatowski, PhD, associate director of the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics at George Washington University.
The discussion focuses on a myriad of factors that contribute to the recent excess of vaccine supply over demand, beginning with what has been the primary hurdle since December, logistical coordination.
“It is not just hesitancy that’s causing the slowdown in vaccine, and I think that’s important. We don’t cover enough the logistical aspects of this campaign,” said guest Mike Fraser, PhD, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “The way that vaccine is shipped and allocated to states has not been changed since December.”
And while delivery of the doses naturally requires attention first, we have to look at Americans’ emotional attitudes over receiving it, according to Fraser.
“We know that vaccine confidence is in part driven by convenience,” Broniatowski said. “We can’t just have one strategy for everything, people are different. The role of empathy is significant.
“Because at the end of the day, of course, it’s their choice. But getting vaccinated really is a choice that will save their lives and the lives of their family members.”
The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.