I’m glad science is back in the driver’s seat.
Among the slew of actions President Biden has taken is a commitment to a science-based COVID-19 response. As part of this pledge, he will hold regular public briefings on the state of the pandemic and release regular reports. His national strategy also directs Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists to provide clear guidance to the public.
To combat misinformation about the pandemic, the administration will lead several public campaigns — in several different languages — on topics such as masking, testing and vaccine hesitancy.
Such efforts are sorely needed. After all, vaccine hesitancy could be the biggest impediment to reaching herd immunity in this country and a return to normalcy, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The low vaccine rate among long-term care workers is one reason why the associations have turned their focus to education. The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, for example, last month launched #GetVaccinated — a nationwide campaign to encourage all long term-care residents, families and staff members to consent to getting vaccinated. The hashtag #GetVaccinated seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Informing workers, residents’ families and the general public about the safety of the vaccine will take a full-court press. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that people’s personal healthcare providers are the most trusted source for information on COVID-19 vaccines, followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, their local health department and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Fauci stands fifth as the most trusted source.
Sadly, conquering misinformation surrounding the vaccine may be just the beginning. Something seems terribly wrong when wealthy tourists are willing to pay thousands for COVID-19 shots while healthcare workers who can get it free are opting out of it.
Liza Berger is Editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Follow her @LizaBerger19.