Across the country, health officials have been trying to combat misinformation and restore trust within their communities these past few years, a period when many people haven’t put full faith in their state and local health departments. Agencies are using Twitter, for example, to appeal to niche audiences, such as NFL fans in Kansas City and Star Wars enthusiasts in Alabama. They’re collaborating with influencers and celebrities such as Stephen Colbert and Akbar Gbajabiamila to extend their reach.
Some of these efforts have paid off. By now, more than 80% of U.S. residents have received at least one shot of a covid vaccine.
But data suggests that the skepticism and misinformation surrounding covid vaccines now threatens other public health priorities. Flu vaccine coverage among children in mid-December was about the same as December 2021, but it was 3.7 percentage points lower compared with late 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decrease in flu vaccination coverage among pregnant women was even more dramatic over the last two years: 18 percentage points lower.
Other common childhood vaccination rates are down, too, compared with pre-pandemic levels. Nationally, 35% of all American parents oppose requiring children to be vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella before entering school, up from 23% in 2019, according to a KFF survey released Dec. 16. Suspicion swirling around once-trusted vaccines, as well as fatigue from so many shots, is likely to blame.
Author(s): Laurie Sausser
Publication Date: 3 Jan 2023
Publication Site: Kaiser Health News