Planning for a COVID-19 Vaccination Program


The groundwork for public acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine must be carefully started before a vaccine becomes available. The health community will likely benefit from early public enthusiasm for a COVID-19 vaccine, and it is critical to build on that momentum to encourage swift, broad vaccine uptake as it becomes available. To promote future COVID-19 vaccine uptake, the following approaches are suggested. First, a COVID-19 vaccine should rapidly be delivered to the public as soon as rigorous testing has been completed, and efficacy and safety have been established. The vaccine should be equitably and justly distributed, particularly targeting individuals at highest risk for complications and disease transmission to others if initial vaccine supply does not meet demand. Second, the plan for a COVID-19 mass vaccination program should proactively address known potential obstacles to vaccine acceptance using linguistically and culturally competent messaging. Third, public health officials should develop a robust COVID-19 vaccine educational campaign harnessing traditional and social media, with a particular focus on involving social influencers and targeting misinformation. Fourth, frontline health care workers should be taught how to make strong recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination, including, if relevant, sharing their personal experiences with COVID-19 and the vaccine.