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Public health experts work to gain public trust and reduce vaccine hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy has been a challenge for public health leaders for decades.
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 8:13 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - As the Food and Drug Administration is set to meet Thursday to possibly approve the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, public health leaders are prepared to confront vaccine hesitancy.

Medical experts say some people have been hesitant of vaccines for decades prior to the pandemic, mainly because of what experts describe as extremely rare cases where vaccines have had adverse effects.

Experts want the public to trust the Centers for Disease Control in their guidance and the numbers.

Both developers Pfizer and Moderna having effectiveness rates over 90 percent is unprecedented in initial vaccine trials, according to Dr. Jon Andrus with The Colorado School of Public Health. He adds, “Trust the evidence as it’s presented from scientists and institutions like the CDC, which globally is recognized as the premier public health agency.”

Compared to other vaccines, “clinical trials were robust, the data is robust,” said Dr. Richard Zane with UCHealth. “When the Food and Drug Administration comes out and says it’s safe, it will say so just as it does for any other vaccine.”

To gain public trust with past vaccines, world leaders have publicly shown themselves getting vaccinated.

Andrus referred to points in his career when saying, “some countries have used the chance to show on film their president being vaccinated. I worked with ministers of health who have done that.”

If leaders start showing support for the COVID-19 vaccine, Andrus hopes it would encourage people to get vaccinated, saying, “I would put a call for action to whoever’s inclined to be a part of this.”

The Pfizer vaccine has become known, in part, for the extremely cold temperatures it needs to be kept at. If it were to not maintain it’s required temperature, Andrus explained it could be less effective, but there is no evidence that it would cause illness or have similar implications.

Medical experts say, the sooner more people are vaccinated for COVID-19, the sooner there will be less deaths related to the virus.

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