PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 21 – As COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available, physicians and other health care professionals must do the hard work of making sure sufficient numbers of people are vaccinated to end the pandemic. To help prepare them, the American College of Physicians (ACP) and Annals of Internal Medicine hosted the COVID-19 Vaccine Forum II – Promoting COVID-19 Vaccination on Dec. 16 where a panel of infectious disease experts discussed strategies for gaining public trust and acceptance of the vaccine. This was the second in a series of vaccine forums hosted by ACP and Annals of Internal Medicine.
ACP and Annals of Internal Medicine invited four experts to offer their perspectives on the vaccine and the current barriers to optimal uptake. Panelists included Dr. Ada Adimora from University of North Carolina, Dr. Helene Gayle from the Chicago Community Trust, Dr. Peter Hotez from Baylor University, and Dr. Heidi Larson from the London School of Tropical Medicine. Dr. Ryan Mire, a member of ACP’s Board of Regents and a practicing internist in Nashville and Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University moderated the discussion. The full recording is available for replay here and is published in Annals of Internal Medicine along with commentary by Christine Laine, MD, MPH, ACP senior vice president and editor-in-chief, Annals of Internal Medicine; Deborah Cotton, MD, MPH, deputy editor, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Darilyn V. Moyer, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO, ACP.
“The vaccine does no good if it remains in freezers and vials– we need to get the vaccine into people,” said Dr. Laine. “Our members are in a unique position to assuage patients’ fears and encourage vaccine acceptance. We developed these forums to arm physicians with the facts and strategies they will need to address vaccine apprehension in their clinical practice.”
During the forum, the panelists discussed the current vaccines, when and how they might be disseminated to patients, bearing fairness and equity in mind, and the challenges ahead related to influencing public opinion about the safety of the vaccine. Panelists stressed the need to build trust among disproportionally affected minority communities to ensure adequate uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines. Every member of the panel agreed that a comprehensive public health communications campaign would be needed to promote the vaccine and refute the glut of misinformation that has been circulating online.
“We must help our patients understand that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is not just about protecting their health, but it is also about protecting the health of those around them,” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “Being well-prepared for conversations about vaccine hesitancy is the first step in helping to make our communities safer for everyone.”
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Annals of Internal Medicine
Annals of Internal Medicine is the flagship journal of the American College of Physicians (ACP). Annals is the most widely read and cited general internal medicine journal and one of the most influential peer-reviewed clinical journals in the world. Annals‘ mission is to promote excellence in medicine, enable physicians and other health care professionals to be well-informed members of the medical community and society, advance standards in the conduct and reporting of medical research, and contribute to improving the health of people worldwide. New content is published every Tuesday at Annals.org. Follow Annals on Twitter and Instagram @AnnalsofIM and on Facebook.
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