Experts Available: Vaccine Hesitancy and Next Steps

Director of Communications

With vaccine supply starting to match or even outpace demand, many are wondering how we can reach communities and individuals who have not been vaccinated yet or are hesitant to get the shot. For reporters covering this trend going forward, the following experts are available to offer expert analysis and commentary on the situation.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Budhwani is a health equity researcher who conducts studies to address the causes and consequences of health disparities among underserved populations in resource-constrained settings. In addition to having published on HPV and influenza vaccine disparities, she is currently a Principal Investigator on two vaccine hesitancy research studies funded by the NIH and Merck.

 

Quote: "We cannot address vaccine hesitancy without critically examining the effects of social structures. Insufficient healthcare access in rural America, inaccessible public health messaging, historic mistreatment of African American and Black people, and politicalizing COVID-19 prevention strategies have exacerbated distrust across vastly different communities."

Texas A&M University

Callaghan's primary research interests are in health policy, health politics, and the study of public health attitudes. He has published extensively on the social, psychological, and political underpinnings of vaccine hesitancy in the US. He is also currently serving as a commissioner on the Lancet Commission to understand Vaccine Refusal, Acceptance, and Demand in the United States.

 

Quote: “Considerable work is needed to increase vaccine uptake among the hesitant. In these efforts at convincing the hesitant, it is important to recognize that trusted communicators should be leading the way but that a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work and that different messages will be needed to reduce hesitancy among different groups.”

San Diego State University

Sobo is a medical anthropologist whose current research focuses on public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, both among members of underserved communities and those operating under the banner of 'medical freedom.' She is presently part of CommuniVax, a participatory action research initiative focused on community-based capacity building in support of an equitable and effective COVID-19 vaccination rollout across the US.

 

Quote: " Given the pandemic’s devastating toll, and the excellent efficacy and safety records of the vaccines—which were in such high demand initially that a black market developed—why are cynics still with us? To answer this question requires shifting our focus away from mistrustful or so-called 'hesitant' individuals to systems that are not to be trusted, and to the broader political-economic or structural factors that make them suspect."