Does COVID-19 Make a Better Case for Vaccines?

October 8, 2020

In consideration of the idea that the pandemic may lead to greater knowledge and adoption of preventive health measures.

An optimist may look at the difficulties surrounding vaccine hesitancy in the US and consider that, given the public’s investment of time and research into understanding coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), the eventual vaccine for the pandemic may be met with more acceptance than previous prophylaxes.

The outcome is a not certain one, but is one that clinicians like Bridget Calhoun, DrPH, MMS, would obviously hope for.

In the final segment of an interview with Contagion®, Calhoun, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research, and Chair and Associate Professor at Rangos School of Health Sciences at Duquesne University, discussed the need for people to learn parameters of vaccine development to better embrace the products.

She discussed how she and her peers are at benefit of being able to trust the development system implicitly, having seen the science that drives vaccines, knowing the oversight that’s required of any regulated product, and participating in the very clinical scrutinization of vaccines.

Calhoun also discussed the likelihood of COVID-19 vaccine risk-stratified prioritization, a strategy which will likely upset those who are not at significant risk of COVID-19 severity nor mortality, but would nonetheless want a vaccination as soon as possible. She noted how a similar situation during a flu vaccine shortage a decade ago led to such criticism.

Regardless of vaccination status in 2021 and beyond, people will still have a role of community protection to play for those at risk.

“There are some people who just can’t get the vaccine, whether they have had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past, or they have demonstrated an allergy to one of the components of the vaccine,” Calhoun said. “We have to be mindful of those folks, too.”