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Public mistrust could be another hurdle for health officials distributing COVID vaccine

Posted at 5:52 AM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 08:32:49-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Recently, there's been positive news from leading manufacturers in the U.S. regarding a Coronavirus vaccine. Health officials believe we could have a vaccine available to the general public by April.

Experts are now warning there's one hurdle that could cause a lot of folks to skip out on getting a vaccine; public mistrust.

A recent poll conducted by Stat News, found that nearly 34 percent of people aren't interested in receiving the vaccine. Health officials say many Americans lack confidence in the speed of vaccine development, and question the accuracy of clinical trials. Many people trust vaccines but also question whether the speed of development is being influenced by politics.

"The fact that politics has entered in this at all is tragic," said Dr. Preeti Malani, with the University of Michigan Healthcare system, in an interview with Newsy. "The fact that science could be viewed through a political lens when it is science is tragic. "You can have your own opinion but you cant have your own science."

For others, the mistrust is rooted in history. The same survey found that African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans are much less trusting about information concerning COVID. In the past, Black and Native American people in particular have been abused and unethically experimented in the name of science.

"One of the things that is missing are messengers from each of the communities that are expressing these same issues," said Phyllis Arthur, Vice President of Infectious Diseases for Biotechnology Innovation Organization. "We need African-American physicians, Hispanic American physicians, Native American physicians or nurses talking about these issues clearly to the public and to the communities that they serve."

The largest African-American physician organization, the National Medical Association wants to address mistrust by creating a task force that will vet approved COVID-19 vaccines for Black communities.

Experts say another way to fix the mistrust is to develop a COVID-19 vaccine campaign, where the public is given transparency.

Colorado state leaders have a plan on how to distribute a Coronavirus vaccine when one likely becomes available. If you'd like to take a look at it, click here.