Last night, I wanted to share the results of my poll/survey post from two days ago. The poll asked if you thought famous people should receive higher priority than others to get vaccinated for Covid-19 as a way to encourage others to get a vaccine. Those plans fell through when the power went out in my neighborhood around eight o’clock in the evening. It finally came back on early this morning.
The poll asked if you thought famous people should receive higher priority than others to get vaccinated for Covid-19 as a way to encourage others to get a vaccine. Perhaps due in part to the biased way I wrote the post, about two-thirds of those who voted (14) thought the answer was no.
Many also wrote comments, and all of them are outstanding. Paraphrasing them in no particular order:
- When it comes to vaccines, celebrities endorsements will have little effect.
- Promotions like Ice Bucket Challenges where individuals film themselves getting vaccinated and then nominate others in their social network to do the same or make a monetary contribution to an organization promoting vaccinations, for example, could be very effective.
- Addressing concerns about unknown or inconclusive information about the virus and explaining how vaccines that were developed so quickly are safe will convince some to get a vaccine.
- As more people get vaccinated, hopefully the benefits of vaccines and the fact that severe reactions are extremely rare will become apparent.
- More information should be provided about potential allergic reactions to the vaccines.
- Celebrities are influential and can be useful in persuading some. That’s why companies pay them big bucks to advertise their products.
- Seeing politicians or others who downplayed the pandemic getting vaccinated before others only makes the process seem unfair.
- For some, a large amount of advertising about vaccines raises questions about the reasons and motives and seems more like propaganda.
- Vaccines should go first where society benefits most (healthcare and other essential workers) and to those with the greatest need for protection.
While endorsements from celebrities, star athletes and other famous people will certainly lead some to get vaccinated, based on these responses, there is a lot more that should be done to convince 85% of the population to vaccinated. That’s the percentage of a population Dr. Anthony Fauci, an American physician and immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, says needs to be reached to achieve herd immunity. If we reach that level of immunity life should be able to return to a semblance of the way it was before the pandemic.
Convincing people to get a vaccine is just the first step. Public health organizations must also create the infrastructure and procedures that can enable millions to be vaccinated in an orderly and efficient manner. So far, other than very general pronouncements about priority for large segments of the population, I’ve seen nothing about how the millions of people who will be eligible for a vaccine actually get vaccinated.
We don’t know how we will be told when we are eligible for a vaccine and what, if anything, will be required to validate eligibility. We don’t know when to go once we are eligible. Does everybody just show up when they feel like it or are appointments required? Some vaccines require two doses. Will people getting a second dose have priority over those getting a first dose? People don’t know where to get vaccinated. Will locations for vaccinations be created in an equitable manner? Are people limited to being vaccinated in a certain neighborhood, city or state? We don’t even know where we can find answers to these basic questions, and the answers depend on which state you live in. Those only some of the many questions a large-scale, time- sensitive vaccination program raises.
Clearly, more work needs to be done to develop and communicate plans on solving the logistical issues involved in vaccinating millions of people quickly. Knowing these details may also give more people confidence about being vaccinated. That may be especially true in minority populations where the rate of serious complications and death has been much higher than the population as a whole. People who live in the “hood” and other poor areas need assurance that they will have equal or better access to vaccines of the same quality as are distributed in the wealthiest areas. That is not how anything has worked in the past.
Having had pneumonia when I was very young and asthma caused by exercise and allergies at times, I want no part of Covid-19. Once you get a disease like that you are at its mercy. There ain’t no wishing it away. For me, the potential benefits of a vaccine easily outweigh the known risks. For those who need more encouragement, a limited number of celebrity endorsements can help and the ideas expressed in the reader comments should help to persuade many more. State and federal governments can further public confidence by providing details about the process is going to work. In addition, it is very important to offer assurances that where people live or their income will not affect the timing of their access to high-quality vaccines.
Thanks to all who took the poll/survey. All of your comments were insightful and helpful. Please leave any additional comments below.
Finally, Merry Christmas!