The vaccine distribution program started in the US this week, and it is likely to pick up pace in the upcoming weeks. However, there is criticism that the authorities are not doing enough to publicize the vaccination program so that more people would be willing to get vaccinated in the next few months.
The initial vaccination program did not get enough coverage in the media, and even the officials of operation warp speed agreed to this issue. When compared to the vaccine distribution program organized in Britain, the event was a dull affair in the US.
US Lagging In Vaccine Awareness Programs
The mass vaccinations, which started early this month in the UK, generated a lot of media buzz. This is the kind of effort that would boost public confidence about the vaccine. Several Americans are still skeptical about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. The authorities should take such measures to promote vaccinations in the long run.
The CDC had earlier indicated that the vaccination program would not be successful if the majority of people do not take the vaccine. Given the situation, the authorities have to be very careful about misinformation spreading about the side effects of the vaccine.
Experts are of the opinion that for the vaccine to reach herd immunity level, close to 70% of Americans will need to take the vaccine, and this is going to take at least a few months from now. A strong public education campaign is the need of the hour to combat the distrust about the vaccine.
Apart from the skepticism about the vaccine, some people are also craving more information about how the vaccine will be available to them. The authorities need to chart out a clear cut strategy in this regard and inform the public about the distribution process. In this way, they will have complete clarity about when the vaccine would become available for the public in their respective States.
The initial efforts of the Federal government to publicize the vaccines were met with a lot of failures due to several controversies. Even the Trump administration was not too keen on the promotional campaigns as they always downplayed the pandemic during the elections. Even after the vaccine was approved by the FDA, the campaign by the Federal government was very modest, and it did not get enough attention across print and social media.
An aggressive campaign to address the skeptics is needed so that they would be willing to take the vaccine when it is available. The second round of publicity campaign is likely to begin in January, and authorities are now focusing on groups who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Apart from that, they also want to focus on areas with the highest infection rates so that more people from such communities would be willing to take the vaccine in the future.
Authorities are also awaiting sufficient doses of vaccines to be available in the market so that they can kick start the advertising campaigns. The timing of the campaign must align with the availability so that the interested people can easily get hold of the vaccine in their regions.
The states are also facing a tough situation as there is a shortage of funds from the Federal government to handle the vaccine distribution program. Given this situation, they do not have enough money to spend on advertising campaigns to promote the vaccination program.
Some progress may happen in this regard in the coming weeks when more doses of vaccines will be available in the market. Apart from that, the authorities are also awaiting the recommendations of the CDC with regards to prioritizing the vaccine distribution program. In this way, the authorities will have clarity about whom to target in the advertising campaign in the coming weeks.