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Vaccine Mistrust And How To Overcome It

A syringe and a bottle reading "Vaccine COVID-19" next to the Moderna biotech company logo. (Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images)
A syringe and a bottle reading "Vaccine COVID-19" next to the Moderna biotech company logo. (Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images)

The pandemic could end in 2021, if enough Americans get vaccinated. But many don’t want to. We take a look at what’s driving that fear, and what it will take to overcome COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.  


Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. (@GeorgesBenjami7)

Ben Brock Johnsonco-host of WBUR’s Endless Thread podcast. (@TheBrockJohnson)

Amory Sivertson, co-host of WBUR’s Endless Thread podcast. (@amorymusic)

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Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and member of the FDA vaccine advisory board.

Dr. Paschal Nwako, Camden County Health Officer.

Miguel Rodriguez, member of the Community Advisory Committee of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.

Nadine Gartner,founding executive director of Boost Oregon.

From The Reading List

Endless Thread: “Infectious, Part 1: Scabs, Pus And Puritans” — “Grinding up smallpox scabs and blowing them up people’s noses sounds pretty desperate. But it was — at least as far as smallpox is concerned — a desperate era. If you’ve never seen smallpox, use the Google machine at your own risk.”

Endless Thread: “Infectious, Part 2: The Flintstone Dilemma” — “There was a time when Fred Flintstone was ubiquitous. And so were the measles.”

New York Times: “Facebook says it will remove coronavirus vaccine misinformation.” — “Facebook on Thursday said it would remove posts that contain claims about Covid-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts, as the social network acts more aggressively to bat down coronavirus misinformation while falsehoods run rampant.”

The Atlantic: “How to Build Trust in the Vaccines” — “This week is coming to a close with truly miraculous news: In the coming days, Americans across the country are expected to begin getting vaccinated against COVID-19, a virus that emerged just a year ago.”

New York Times: “She Hunts Viral Rumors About Real Viruses” — “In late September, Heidi Larson, an anthropologist and the founder of the Vaccine Confidence Project in London, sat on a Zoom call with the project team for Verified, a United Nations-led group that is working to combat a rising tide of misinformation about potential vaccines for Covid-19.”

Vox: “How one city is building vaccine trust in Black and Latinx communities” — “The need for widespread vaccination against Covid-19 is urgent — experts say about 60 percent of people need to be vaccinated to see the vaccine’s effect on the disease that has claimed the lives of more than 300,000 Americans.”

The Conversation: “Misinformation on social media fuels vaccine hesitancy: a global study shows the link” — “Vaccine hesitancy is a severe threat to global health, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The term refers to the delay in acceptance or the refusal of vaccines, despite the availability of vaccination services. It’s a serious risk to the people who aren’t getting vaccinated as well as the wider community.”

PBS: “Why Americans have grown more hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine” — “The best vaccines are only as effective as people’s willingness to take them, and amid the global pandemic, American confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine is shrinking before one is even available.”

ProPublica: “Vaccinating Black Americans Is Essential. Key States Aren’t Doing the Work to Combat Hesitancy” — “Though African Americans are being hospitalized for COVID-19 at more than triple the rate of white Americans, wariness of the new vaccine is higher in the Black population than in most communities. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted communities of color as a ‘critical population’ to vaccinate.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.