COVID-19 vaccines must be accompanied by public education campaigns, experts say

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During the pandemic, Americans have grappled with misinformation, fear, and distrust in federal institutions — all issues that will have to be addressed if the country hopes to achieve widespread inoculation when a COVID-19 vaccine emerges, public relations officials told PRWeek.

In order to build the public's trust in COVID-19 vaccines, the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture them need to be transparent in their messaging. Priyanka Bajpai, a regional head at international public relations agency SPAG Group, told PRWeek that drugmakers should "demystify the science of vaccines and align credible voices who can provide factual and correct information to the public."

Healthcare communication professionals must focus on building trust around what governments are doing to offer safe vaccine rollouts and equal access to all communities, according to Emma Thompson, founder and managing partner at Spurwing Communications. She added that many people are worried about inconsistent distribution infrastructures that vary by region, leaving people in low-income and rural communities with lesser access.

Vaccine campaigns will also have to focus on the culturally and emotionally influenced motivations people have for distrusting vaccines, Saskia Kendall, head of health at Sandpiper Communications, told PRWeek. Ms. Kendall said the views of people who oppose vaccines are significantly strengthened by the anti-vaccine movement's growing social media presence, so healthcare communication professionals will have to develop strategic messaging to address these concerns.

 

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