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COVID-19

What will it take for Americans to get a COVID vaccine?

Samantha Fields Dec 4, 2020
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Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz, as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on Aug. 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
COVID-19

What will it take for Americans to get a COVID vaccine?

Samantha Fields Dec 4, 2020
Heard on:
Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz, as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on Aug. 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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A growing number of people are now saying they’ll get the COVID-19 vaccine when they can — 60% of Americans would do so, according to a study out from Pew Research this week. That’s significantly higher than it was just two months ago. But it’s still not high enough to get the pandemic under control. And the number is much lower among Black Americans — just over 40% say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine. 

So, what’s it going to take to get more people on board?

There’s a saying in public health that vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations save lives. 

James Colgrove, a professor of public health at Columbia University, said that means “it’s not going to do anybody any good unless you get it into people’s bodies. People have to be willing to line up and roll up their sleeves.”

The key to getting more people to do that, he added, is trust.

Right now, the nonprofit group the Ad Council and a group of experts called the COVID Collaborative are trying to raise $50 million for a public education campaign. 

Steven Jumper of the digital creative agency GhostNote said people who are hesitant will need to see data and hear from people they trust. 

“It’s going to be important that trusted faces, advisers and leaders in communities, both locally and nationally, are seen on camera endorsing this vaccine,” he said.

President-elect Joe Biden and former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton have all already said they’ll do that.

Experts said an effective campaign will also have to involve clergy, primary care doctors and local community leaders. People who know — and look like — the people they’re talking to. That will be particularly important in the Black community, said Thomas LaVeist, dean of public health at Tulane University.

“I’ve given some thought to maybe getting together a group of African American scientists … who can speak to the African American community and say, as scientists, we have reviewed this, and we are willing to take this vaccine,” he said.

For some people, he said, it also might take time, and seeing the vaccine start to work in communities like their own.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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