How ineffective messaging hurt the US vaccine rollout

The country's effort to inoculate front-line healthcare workers and nursing homes residents and staff has gotten off to a slower start than expected, a problem that will only be exacerbated if transparency and clear messaging is not incorporated into the COVID-19 vaccine process, according to a Jan. 7 Bloomberg report report.

A lack of detailed and unified messaging about the COVID-19 vaccine's safety and efficacy has played a critical role in Americans' widespread unwillingness to receive the shots, according to Bloomberg.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Dec. 30 that about 60 percent of the state's nursing home staff who were offered the vaccine refused it, and about 44 percent of Southeast Georgia Health System's 2,629 eligible employees opted out, Christy Jordan, the Brunswick-based health system's vice president of government affairs and general counsel, told Bloomberg.

Hospitals are making more of an effort to explain the vaccines' clinical trial data to workers and debunk misinformation, but members of the public may not be receiving the same messaging. In a Jan. 7 letter urging HHS Secretary Alex Azar to make changes to the vaccine rollout process, the American Hospital Association highlighted that the lack of transparency and specificity is contributing to the public's distrust in COVID-19 vaccination.

Critics of the vaccine rollout's messaging strategy have also pointed to a lack of funding and urgency for COVID-19 vaccine education campaigns, saying HHS's December campaign was too little, too late.

"We spent $10 billion months ago to develop vaccines; why were we not spending money to introduce the public to the vaccines?" Krutika Kuppalli, a physician at the Charleston-based Medical University of South Carolina, told Bloomberg.


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