ORLANDO, Fla. — President Joe Biden says his administration plans to roll out a massive education effort to promote vaccine awareness.
While the president works to get more doses of the vaccine distributed, he’s also working to increase the public’s trust in the shots.
President Biden says his team plans to put an end to disinformation that’s undermined confidence in the vaccines.
Crisis and disaster communications expert Dr. Matt Seeger literally wrote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s playbook for crisis communication.
“”We brought experts together...to prepare information, a guide book, training materials, tools…”
The 450-page manual tells leaders how they should be putting information out during an emergency. Seeger says the manual stresses that communication during a crisis can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach.
“There is not a single audience for crisis messages; there are audiences, and we need to understand them, understand their needs, and meet them where they are,” Seeger says.
When it comes to the coronavirus crisis, Seeger says it’s clear to doctors that the best practices haven’t been followed.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to roll out some effective messaging very, very quickly.”
President Biden says he’ll launch a massive public education campaign to rebuild trust, communicate with the public, and combat the misinformation about vaccination.
Dr. Chrysalis Wright of UCF’s Media & Migration lab has followed the stream of false claims about the shots closely.
“The vaccine was going to change peoples’ DNA. If someone became pregnant, we could have genetic mutations that would lead to birth defects in the fetus...but that’s not correct.”
That’s why Dr. Seeger says reducing the misinformation needs to be the first step for the Biden team. After that, he says the administration needs to put out a campaign that targets the different reasons people are reluctant to get the shots.
“Some people are just afraid of needles,” Seeger says. “Some people don’t have enough information. Some people are true deniers who deny the science.”
In other words, the team will need different messages for different people, which will take time. According to Seeger, it could take months, or even a full year.
Seeger says a highly effective flu campaign usually yields a 50% result, meaning approximately 50% of the population goes to get the shot.
Herd immunity against COVID-19 would require more than 70% of the population to get the vaccine.
Cox Media Group