April 6, 2021

COVID Vaccine Hesitancy: Anti-Vax Craziness or Reasonable Caution?

COVID Vaccine Hesitancy: Anti-Vax Craziness or Reasonable Caution?
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As more states open up COVID-19 vaccination to anyone 16-years and older, the federal government has now pulled out all the stops. Taking on a full-force media blitz that includes a multi-million dollar ad buy in both English and Spanish, they have enlisted groups from NASCAR and the NFL, to the Catholic Health Association, American Farm Bureau and American Medical Association. The goal is to combat hesitancy, which has dropped considerably but remains substantial among those most susceptible to contracting and possibly dying from the virus. This includes people who work in medical fields and long-term care facilities. As the Pew organization reported recently, only half of long-term caretakers are vaccinated against COVID. Taking a look at why certain groups remain hesitant and what messages may work to overcome their reluctance, we talk to Steven Thomas, MD, a professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Health in College Park and director for the Maryland Center for Health Equity, and Sarah Berry, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and geriatrician at Hebrew SeniorLife.