EDITORIAL

Volatility of vaccine confidence

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Science  26 Mar 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6536, pp. 1289
DOI: 10.1126/science.abi6488

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  • RE: Why is Trust in COVID-19 Vaccines Volatile?

    The challenging editorial is almost as confronting as the apparent volatility in societal trust in any COVID-19 vaccines, which is based heavily on misinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news that are disseminated through social media platforms.

    Why the safety of AstraZeneca should be questioned is difficult to answer, especially as there is no scientific evidence based on clinical trials that it might not be safe, and doubts are being cast in countries that are struggling with the pandemic.

    Moreover, the widely-used vaccine has passed the public trust test in the UK, and mitigates against vaccine hesitancy.

    Trust can be difficult to establish, but easy to dismantle, so clear, simple, calm, and repeated scientific reporting through public health channels is essential.

    It is important to distinguish between anti-vaxxers, who are misguidedly ignorant, and the vaccine-hesitant, who are confused, and lack confidence and trust in the mixed messages that are being widely distributed.

    Convincing those who believe that vaccines are dangerous to health, while COVID-19 is not, is a difficult task, but one that needs to be confronted if society is to overcome the pandemic.

    Competing Interests: I have no competing interests.

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