Howto ensure vaccine adoption
Several COVID-19 vaccine candidates are likely to be approved for use in theU.S. in the coming months. Lastweek, we learned that an interim analysis of one of the most promising vaccineswas more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. What if, when a vaccine is released to the public, no one takes it? It is essential thatwe nowengage residents of communities most affected byCOVID-19 to ensurewidespread adoption.
Taking this step will not be easy. Many concerns exist about theCOVID-19 vaccines and the speed atwhich they have been developed. Vaccine hesitancy is particularly high among communities of color, rooted in unethical studies of the past, such as the Tuskegee experiment. In a recent report about the equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, theNational Academy ofMedicine urged trustworthy communication about vaccine risks through community engagement.
In response, organizations in the Chicago metro area aim to partner with communities to form the “vaccine corps,” a network of trusted messengers to support vaccination efforts. The vaccine corps would be trained to dispelmyths, address concerns about the value and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine, and ultimately help people access the vaccine.
The organizations involved also see this moment as an opportunity to bring about needed improvements to our neighborhoods and communities by addressing aspects of daily life impacted byCOVID-19, such as jobs, housing, racial equity, transportation and access to food. We envision a future in which these efforts will help to restore our physical, social and economic health, ultimately leaving the Chicago area more equitable and resilient.
— Gayla Brockman, Michael ReeseHealth Trust, and Dr. Jerry A. Krishnan, University of Illinois at Chicago