America is on the threshold of having 50% of adults fully vaccinated from COVID-19. However, the number of daily doses administered is down about 48% from a peak rate of nearly 3.4 million per day in mid-April.
A big reason for this is vaccine hesitancy. Around 30% of Americans are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which presents a sizable roadblock to reaching herd immunity. Estimates differ, but it's thought after approximately 85% of the country has had the vaccine, the country will be on track for herd immunity.
It's important for the health of all Americans to try to help the hesitant to understand the facts: vaccines are safe and do a great job at preventing COVID-19 infections.
Who better to try to change people's minds about the vaccine than one of its developers, Dr. Kizzmekia "Kizzy" Corbett?
Dr. Corbett is an immunologist at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and a scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis team that co-developed a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine based on mRNA technology with Moderna.
Meet Dr. Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett @KizzyPhD one of the lead scientists in developing the #CovidVaccine https://t.co/6UEtktsAD2— Karimah 🖖🏾 Boston (@Karimah 🖖🏾 Boston)1607733634.0
Last week, Matthew Mallory, an attendee at the "Vaccinating America" town hall at Northern Virginia Community College featuring President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, admitted he was hesitant about getting the shot.
"How do you know it's safe and who to trust?" he asked the panel.
"Does it give you confidence that Dr. Fauci, who has been working in this area his entire life was one of the very first people to take the vaccine, the Moderna vaccine?" MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell asked Mallory.
"In a way it does, I just still have hesitancies," he replied.
So the panel asked Dr. Corbett to step in and help out.
"I get it. I completely understand," she told Mallory. "I've realized that through this moment I sit in a place of privilege where I have information on a day-to-day basis about these vaccines that the general person does not. But the one thing that reassures me constantly is seeing over time, more and more people getting these vaccines. The data are so clear and crisp and that they are effective."
Dr. Corbett met with Mallory and his mother after the event and they talked for over 10 minutes. However, even after meeting with one of the creators of the vaccine, he still wasn't convinced.
Mallory and his mother went home and had a heart-to-heart about getting vaccinated and decided to get their first shots yesterday at Walgreens.
Dr. Corbett proudly met the two at the drug store and comforted them while they got their shots.
Dr. Corbett Convinces MSNBC Town Hall Participant To Get Covid Vaccine www.youtube.com
If we can cut the number of people with vaccine hesitancy by half over the coming months, it gives us a much better chance of reaching herd immunity. If not, the virus will linger in pockets of the country where hesitancy is highest, taking thousands of lives along the way.
A big part of helping people change their minds is understanding there is a lot of misinformation muddying the waters, so it makes sense that some are uncomfortable getting the shot.
Dr. Corbett displayed a great example of how to counter the misinformation by taking the time to listen to Mallory without judgement and to give him the tools necessary to make an informed decision. She's a great example of how we can reach herd immunity by empowering people instead of shaming them.
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