The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and their ability to begin addressing the pandemic depend on people choosing to get vaccinated, but many will not because of a lack of trust that the nation’s top epidemiologist says is unfounded.
“They say, ‘Well, maybe we did this too quickly,’” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“They need to understand, the speed is really a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances that have been made that have allowed us to do things in weeks to months that normally would have taken years,” he said.
“The process that went into deciding the safety and efficacy was both independent and transparent. We need to make sure people understand that,” he said.
Fauci said he believes extra community outreach and engagement will be needed to convince people that the vaccines are safe and that getting vaccinated is in their best interests, especially in the African American and Latino communities. “Particularly those demographic groups that have not been treated well historically by the medical establishment,” Fauci said.
Even as an increasing number of intensive care units reach near capacity in hospitals nationwide, skepticism about vaccines is an issue. And some people still reject the need for pandemic-related precautions, such as wearing face masks.
Fauci said he was disturbed by what he likens to people being in denial.
“People still don’t think this is a big deal,” Fauci said. “They think this is fake news, or a little bit of a hoax, or what have you. It’s not. It’s real. The numbers are absolutely real. We’re having record numbers of hospitalizations, record numbers of cases and, most recently, deaths.”
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