Building Community Trust Essential to COVID Vaccine Acceptance
This commentary appeared in the Baltimore Sun on December 4, 2020.
COVID-19, which has taken over 250,000 lives, is now the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind cardiovascular disease and cancer. This marks a monumental loss for public health, which has deployed sanitation policies, vaccination programs, surveillance technologies and new medicines to keep infectious disease from the top three causes of death since 1938.
With most states now much higher than the 5% COVID-19 test positivity limit recommended for reopening—and at least 10 states exceeding 20% positivity—announcements of vaccine deployment as early as December couldn’t come soon enough. But for public health experts, concerns about community acceptance of vaccines cast a shadow over the promising news. Without trust in public health interventions like vaccines and contact tracing, the gains made on infectious disease control will continue to diminish.