I volunteered for COVID-19 vaccine trials. We need public education to build trust in the vaccine.

Saving lives is worth the time spent on debunking myths and countering misinformation.

SHARE I volunteered for COVID-19 vaccine trials. We need public education to build trust in the vaccine.
A nurse holds a syringe and a vial as she simulates the administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at a staff training session in London. Britain has approved the vaccine and begun vaccination.

A nurse holds a syringe and a vial as she simulates the administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at a staff training session in London. Britain has approved the vaccine and begun vaccination.

Yui Mok/AFP via Getty Images

As a volunteer for one of the COVID-19 vaccine trials and part of the Phase 3 Moderna study, I urge that there be education and full disclosure about the vaccines.

A front-page Sun-Times article outlines the city’s vaccination plan. These efforts will require trustworthy elected leaders to be completely forthcoming about the facts regarding the vaccine, and for the public to participate in the plan fully and equitably. Public trust and a massive vaccine education campaign are a must.

The political, business, labor and other community influencers who fought for the Fair Tax must invest in public service ad campaigns on vaccine education. This campaign must be apolitical so that vaccination, unlike wearing a face mask, does not divide Americans and diminish our fight against the virus. The vaccine cannot be allowed to be labeled as “Trump’s shot.” Conversations should involve honest dialogue about scientific and medical evidence, not repetition of sound bites.

The best way to overcome skepticism, as Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady points out — especially in communities of color hit the hardest by the virus — is through education. Here is some basic information:

  • Pharmaceutical firms that have developed coronavirus vaccines include Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
  • The vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech have shown protection rates of 94.1% and 95% respectively, similar to the effectiveness of measles, mumps, chickenpox and polio vaccines.
  • Both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines require two doses and cold temperature storage.
  • Reported side effects include flu-like symptoms and pain around the injection site.

Some “anti-vaxx” efforts have already sought to discredit a coronavirus vaccine. A public education campaign would make clear that the vaccine’s pros outweigh its possible drawbacks. Saving lives is worth the time spent on debunking myths and countering misinformation.

Froy Jimenez, Chicago Public Schools civics teacher

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be 350 words or less.

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