Opinion | A Coronavirus Vaccine Won’t Work if People Don’t Take It

Opinion | A Coronavirus Vaccine Won’t Work if People Don’t Take It

We need to start convincing skeptics now. Falneshia Adams was “so full of life,” her sister said. She died in May after contracting COVID-19 at the hospital where she worked. Get 5% OFF w/ BetterHelp promo codes or coupons. Get instant savings w/ 9 valid BetterHelp coupon codes & coupons in July 2020.

Opinion|A Coronavirus Vaccine Won’t Work if People Don’t Take It

We need to start convincing skeptics now.

Dr. Danziger is a pediatrician.

  • July 9, 2020

If a vaccine for the coronavirus is developed tomorrow, will you take it?

Many people won’t. According to recent polls, half to three-quarters of Americans intend to get the vaccine if one becomes available — woefully short of what we’ll need to protect our communities.

As a pediatrician, I meet with all kinds of parents who have concerns about vaccines generally; many have told me they won’t trust a coronavirus vaccine, and that they and their children won’t take it, at least in the short term. They question the safety of a vaccine developed on an accelerated timeline, and in the shadows of political pressure — a concern that has also been raised by staunchly pro-science, pro-vaccine experts. A few families even buy into the conspiracy theory that microchips will be implanted into the vaccine.

As repeated measles outbreaks demonstrate, we haven’t done a great job addressing people’s concerns about vaccines. And if we don’t learn from our failed response to them, a coronavirus vaccine program will be doomed.

The anti-vaccine movement was once linked primarily to wealthy white parents. Nowadays these views are expressed both by liberal parents, who align with “natural” health and parenting identities, and conservative parents, who emphasize their distrust of government and the importance of individual liberty.

Race matters, too: For some families of color, the sordid history of unethical experimentation on vulnerable communities makes them reluctant to vaccinate.

So far, the public health response has mainly focused on persuading people to accept vaccines through education and effective communication. But such an approach has proved to be largely unsuccessful. We need new strategies.

First, we must build a coalition of community leaders, public figures and other influential individuals to help combat disinformation and focus on the ethical importance of immunization. Many people rely on their doctors for medical advice, but others turn to religious leaders, media personalities and alternative health providers like chiropractors and naturopaths.

Though most religious institutions do not discourage or prohibit immunization, some religious belief often fuels vaccine opposition. Pastors, rabbis and imams could play an important role in clarifying a religion’s position on immunization, not only against coronavirus, but also against influenza and other diseases that vaccines prevent.

We also need to engage community leaders and public figures who can help mediate national and community discussions about the values, moral principles and identity concerns about vaccination and ensure that the most vulnerable groups get priority and protection when it comes to distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

Second, marketing matters. Parents from across the political and cultural spectrum tell me that they simply do not trust the information made available about vaccine manufacturing and ingredients. We should explore ideas such as offering “green vaccines” — manufactured using transparent processes and ingredients — that vaccine-hesitant Americans may be more likely to accept.

Let me be clear: Our current vaccines are safe. But they can’t be effective if people are not willing to take them. We should consider what kind of vaccine Americans would be willing to accept, and what type of information would bolster trust.

A “green vaccine” should be designed that uses adjuvants (which increase a person’s immune response) and preservatives that don’t bring up scary search results about antifreeze and mercury poisoning. It should be made in a factory in a city or town that can be easily identified. And it should come with accessible information about development, testing and monitoring, rather than an inscrutable insert with a list of side effects unrelated to the vaccine. These measures are not a scientific necessity, but they may be a social one.

Finally, we must turn our attention to the factors that have made government distrust such a potent factor in vaccine skepticism, and keep it there. In times of social unrest, people often turn to group identity and affiliation, and vaccines have become a powerful vehicle through which such affiliations are expressed. But the prevailing approach to vaccine hesitancy and opposition fails to reflect that.

One of the things I value most about being a pediatrician is being allowed a glimpse into the lives of so many different types of families. Regardless of parents’ economic, political or racial background, one thing is usually the same: their dedication to their children’s health and well-being.

That’s a useful starting point when I counsel families about vaccines. I can ask about their experiences and their values, draw diagrams about the immune system and talk through clinical trials and scientific studies. I can work on building strong relationships and try to illuminate the ways in which vaccination aligns with their goals of keeping their children safe and healthy.

But what about the concerns of a single Black mother of three who lives below the poverty line and experiences chronic disenfranchisement; of a young couple who have found meaning and support through an online “natural parenting” community; or of a father of five guided strongly by religious faith, whose pastor considers vaccines as interfering with God’s perfect design?

These concerns are difficult to address solely within the walls of an exam room, yet it is social conditions like income inequality, educational disparities, racism and gender discrimination that have created a cultural climate in which vaccines represent so much more than simply immunization against infectious disease.

We can’t simply assume that if a coronavirus vaccine is developed, Americans will accept it. Sufficiently widespread vaccination will be possible only if the values and goals of a vaccine program are discussed explicitly, transparently and early, and if that discussion includes the full range of voices that have been telling us for years that trust in the American institutions and systems responsible for vaccines is broken.

Phoebe Danziger, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, writes about medicine, ethics and culture, and is a co-founder of Health Insight Lab.

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Source: www.nytimes.com

Author: Phoebe Danziger


An essential worker, a hospital staffer, she contracted COVID at work and died

An essential worker, a hospital staffer, she contracted COVID at work and died

CLOSE

Falneshia Adams was a southern woman who exuded southern charm.  

She had a big personality, her younger sister, Shani Adams Nikolas, said. “She loved life. She loved to laugh. She was a jokester,” Nikolas said.  

She lit any room she entered. “She had a lot of love,” Nikolas said. “She always made us laugh.” 

Falneshia was born in Orangeburg, in central South Carolina, on Jan. 5, 1971, one of five children. Her father was a military man, and when she was young, the family moved to Pahokee, a small town on the shore of Lake Okeechobee in south Florida.  

Her sister said she made friends easily. She loved to dance and was on her high school drill team. 

She went to Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach to study hotel management. While she was in college, her older sister, Sonya Robinson, moved to Philadelphia and followed her, taking a job at the Bellevue Hotel in Center City.  

A few years after moving to the big city, she changed careers, getting a job in environmental services at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She loved that job, Nikolas said. She loved being around the children. 

And she loved her 10-year-old daughter, E’Nieshia, and would do anything for her, Nikolas said. “She would work overtime just to make sure her daughter had everything she needed.”  

She was a fashion plate, her sister said. She was always dressed up, her outfits, from her glasses to her shoes, matching. She also liked taking trips with her sisters to the beach or to casinos in Atlantic City, where she liked playing the slots.

She loved to sing and dance and would break into dance whenever she heard a song she liked, favoring R&B, Motown and ‘80s rap. She loved comedy and was a big fan of comedian Martin Lawrence. 

When the coronavirus pandemic began in March, she told her sister she was concerned about going to work. “She was an essential worker,” her sister said. Falneshia told her family she would be cautious. 

On April 3, Nikolas said, Falneshia cleaned a room that had been occupied by a COVID patient and was not wearing protective gear and went into quarantine. 

She got sick a week later. Nikolas knew something was wrong because she called her every morning, and the morning of April 10, Falneshia slept in until 11 a.m. “That wasn’t like her,” Nikolas said. “It was unusual for her sleep in. She was always the first one up in the morning.” 

She was admitted to the hospital on April 20 and eventually, was in the intensive care unit on a ventilator. 

Nikolas felt terrible she couldn’t visit her sister in the hospital. She would call her three times a day. They talked about all kinds of things and made plans to take one of their girls’ trips after she was released from the hospital. 

“In my mind,” Nikolas said, “I knew she was going to get better. I knew she was going to get through it. She was going to fight through it.” 

The last time Nikolas spoke to her sister was May 12, a Tuesday. That evening, Falneshia suffered a severe stroke. 

Wednesday night, Nikolas dreamed about her sister. In her dream, Falneshia was fine. She saw Falneshia in her apartment. “I asked her what she was doing,” Nikolas said. “And she just laughed.” 

The next day, May 14, Falneshia died. She was 49. 

Nikolas said her family still can’t believe Falneshia is gone.  

“She was so full of life,” Nikolas said. “I miss her.” 

If people want to show respect for Falneshia, Nikolas asked that they do what they can to prevent the spread of the virus, including wearing masks and trying to stay home. 

“People think this disease is gone and it’s not really serious,” Nikolas said. “It’s still here and it is serious. I know. We have to protect ourselves.” 

Columnist/reporter Mike Argento has been a York Daily Record staffer since 1982. Reach him at 717-771-2046 or at [email protected]

Read or Share this story: https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2020/07/09/essential-worker-hospital-staffer-she-contracted-covid-work/5389591002/

Source: www.publicopiniononline.com

Author: Mike Argento, York Daily Record


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Opinion | A Coronavirus Vaccine Won’t Work if People Don’t Take It


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