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There are many possible therapeutic drugs and over 100 potential COVID-19 vaccines currently being developed and studied across the globe. Top virologists, doctors, and scientists have expressed optimism that there will in fact be a vaccine - or multiple vaccines - that may be created to help to end the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the (critical) question that needs to be asked is: If a vaccine is in fact developed, will people feel confident enough to be vaccinated?
The answer to this question is not so clear-cut. And how it plays out could theoretically cause a lot of chaos if individuals opted not to become inoculated, as the virus would likely still continue to circulate and infect people who are not immunized, as it is doing so today.
So, why would people refuse a vaccine? Essentially, it comes down to trust.
Unfortunately, from the beginning of the outbreak of this novel disease, there has been skepticism and even a lack of trust around the severity of the disease among some in the general public. (Some of these beliefs are likely politically-influenced.)
And it's important to note that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has expressed his concerns about an "anti-science bias" in America. (Click here to read more about this on CNN.)
A fascinating article in the New York Times explains how this "anti-COVID vaccine" scenario could play out, and what can be done about it.
Here are several excerpts from The NY Times article:
"Almost daily, President Trump and leaders worldwide say they are racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine, in perhaps the most urgent mission in the history of medical science. But the repeated assurances of near-miraculous speed are exacerbating a problem that has largely been overlooked and one that public health experts say must be addressed now: persuading people to actually get the shot.
A growing number of polls find so many people saying they would not get a coronavirus vaccine that its potential to shut down the pandemic could be in jeopardy. Distrust of it is particularly pronounced in African-American communities, which have been disproportionately devastated by the virus. But even many staunch supporters of immunization say they are wary of this vaccine."
"In fact, wrote the group, led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Texas State University anthropology department: “If poorly designed and executed, a Covid-19 vaccination campaign in the U.S. could undermine the increasingly tenuous belief in vaccines and the public health authorities that recommend them — especially among people most at risk of Covid-19 impacts.”
The researchers noted that although billions of federal dollars were pouring into biomedical research for a vaccine, there seemed to be virtually no funding set aside for social scientists to investigate hesitancy around vaccines. Focus groups to help pinpoint the most effective messaging to counter opposition, the authors said, should get underway immediately."
Click here to read the full article in the New York Times.