larson1_Don and Melinda CrawfordEducation ImagesUniversal Images Group via Getty Images_vaccine Don and Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Building Vaccine Trust, While Managing Risk

How risks associated with some COVID-19 vaccines are managed, communicated, and – most important – perceived will be crucial to sustaining public confidence in immunization drives. People’s trust in policymakers, experts, and institutions will be as important as trust in the vaccines themselves.

LONDON – Hugging your parents. Meeting your grandchild for the first time. Laughing with friends – in person! COVID-19 vaccines promise to bring us closer to our loved ones and enjoy the sort of moments we have missed over the past 14 months. The delight of those already immunized is clear: on social media, people are self-documenting and sharing their vaccination moment with the message “I’m protected!”

We cannot afford to lose that enthusiasm, even in the face of recently reported rare instances of blood clotting following some COVID-19 vaccinations.

How those risks are managed, communicated, and – most important – perceived will be crucial to sustaining public confidence in COVID-19 immunization drives. And in this context, people’s trust in policymakers, experts, and institutions will be as important as trust in the vaccines themselves. Our leaders need to be transparent in their actions and recognize that every day of delay and indecision regarding vaccine communication provides fertile ground for anxiety and misinformation – much of it online.

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