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A COVID-19 Vaccine Is On The Way. What Can Be Done To Combat Skepticism And Ensure An Equitable Rollout?

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination study at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood
Marco Bello/REUTERS
A volunteer is injected with a vaccine as he participates in a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination study at the Research Centers of America, in Hollywood, Florida, U.S., September 24, 2020. REUTERS/Marco Bello - RC2E5J92LTKE

The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency authorization for the first COVID-19 vaccine to be deployed in communities across the U.S. but according to recent polling, only 60% of Americans say they would be willing to get inoculated when it's available.

Though the number has increased slightly in the past few months, 21% of Americans still say they do not intend to get the vaccine at all and are “pretty certain” no new information will change their mind.

Why are people still so skeptical about vaccines? How does the vaccine we have now work to help protect individuals from COVID-19 infection? What percentage of the population needs to get it to control the virus' spread?

Black and brown Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. What are the biggest challenges for creating and implementing equitable vaccination programs?

What strategies can be employed to combat vaccine skepticism in minority communities? What are some of the common myths that contribute to vaccine hesitancy?


  • Dr. Howard Forman, M.D., professor of public health, management and economics, and director of the health care management program at Yale University
  • Allison Winnike, J.D., president and CEO of The Immunization Partnership and adjunct professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston
  • Dr. Kierra Barnett, Ph.D., post-doctoral health equity researcher at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, December 16.

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