Communicate clearly during the launch of the vaccine for CommunicateHealth | health literacy


High: Three happy scribbles flex their muscles. They have name tags that say “Pfizer”, “J&J” and “Modern”.

With 3 different COVID-19 vaccines on the market in the United States and more and more people getting vaccinated every day, many new and complicated health communication questions arise! So this week, we’re sharing some tips to communicate clearly about vaccine deployment.

First, a small disclaimer: the vaccine landscape is changing rapidly! New features may be available soon and guidelines may change as researchers gather data from ongoing trials. But from what we know now, try these tips:

  • Note that the 3 vaccines authorized (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are safe and effective. Underestimating the benefits of the vaccine can be as damaging as exaggerating them, so tell people how amazing these vaccines are! Just over a year after this devastating pandemic, we now have 1, not 2, but 3 vaccines that can help prevent disease and death from COVID-19. This is good health news that we can all shout from the rooftops.
  • Don’t say they are exactly the same. After all the time we have spent in public health explaining mRNA technology, people may wonder about the difference between this approach and that of Johnson & Johnson adenovirus delivery system. But researchers have not yet done an apple-to-apple, head-to-head clinical trial to compare the 3 vaccines. When they do, key differences may arise, such as one that is more effective against a particular variant. Thus, a Avoid the annoying U-turns along the line, follow the facts: we are still collecting data, but we know that everyone has gone through rigorous security testing and we know that all three work very well.
  • Encourage everyone to receive the first vaccine offered to them. Since we still don’t know enough to say if one vaccine is better than another, it makes sense that health communicators encourage people to get the vaccine offered to them first. Because the The best vaccine you can get before you come in contact with the virus. And with the pandemic still raging and the demand for vaccines still outstripping supply, now is not the time to buy.
  • Be honest with everything we know and don’t know. Experts hope vaccines will prevent people from spreading the virus, but we need more time and data to know for sure. We are also not sure how long vaccine protection will last. But us tin Assure people that any of the 3 vaccines will help protect them (at least in the short term) from COVID-19 disease.
  • Keep calls for vaccine equity. As vaccination statistics reach across the country, it’s clear whites receive vaccines at much higher rates than blacks and Hispanics. And since we know that racism and other social factors make black and Hispanic people more likely to get sick and die from COVID-19, these vaccine disparities are not only unfair but also deadly. As health communicators, we need to address this issue, prioritize outreach and access for communities of color, and call on policymakers and institutions to do better.
  • Provide an easy-to-understand guide for fully vaccinated people. Once people get their photos, they probably have a lot of questions! The CDC now offers some specific guidelines, but the bottom line is that fully vaccinated people can do more things safely (huzzah!), but they can’t behave as if the pandemic is over. For example, we will all continue to wear our masks at the grocery store for a while. But fully vaccinated friends can hang out indoors without masks, like in the old days! So keep promoting the recommended safety measures, but don’t forget to celebrate the freedoms that vaccines are regaining.

Conclusion: To communicate clearly during the vaccine launch, be transparent and encourage everyone to take the first shot of protection.

Tweet about it: Hi folks from #HealthComm! Are you communicating about the launch of the # COVID19 vaccine? Be transparent and encourage everyone to take their first protection, says @CommunicateHlth: #communicateCOVID #HealthLit

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