Coronavirus (853) The work to prepare the public for a vaccine needs to start now

25 July, 2020

Today's print issue of The Lancet carries the words: 'The work to prepare the public for a vaccine to control this pandemic needs to start now'

These are taken from Richard Horton's Offline column in the same issue. Here is the paragraph in full:

'The work to prepare the public for a vaccine to control this pandemic needs to start now. Policy makers and scientists must partner with communities to understand their concerns. Advocacy for a COVID-19 vaccine should ideally be led by local communities and local community champions. The availability of a vaccine should be transparently prioritised for those at greatest risk. Access to a vaccine should be through familiar settings — for example, high-street pharmacies and supermarkets — and not only health clinics and hospitals. Public information campaigns should be considered, including campaigns to challenge growing disinformation. Finally, at a time of widespread populist anti-elitism, the leadership of national vaccine programmes should be shared beyond government and public health agencies. The current debate over masks—and “mask Nazis”, as one commentator wrote last weekend—gives clues as to how a vaccine might be received. Anti-government voices will argue that politicians are using the pandemic to, as another critic noted, “distil fear into power”. A COVID-19 vaccination strategy demands a whole-of-society response—incorporating business, trade unions, faith communities, charities, media, entertainment, and sports. A vaccine to protect the public against SARS-CoV-2 is the most important and immediate technical challenge humanity has ever faced—at a moment when public trust in science and government is alarmingly brittle.'

Full text:

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: