Interview Summary between Dr. Goldenberg and Dr. Boyd, “Vaccine Access, Vaccine Hesitancy: Challenges to Herd Immunity,”
The current global coronavirus pandemic is a significant public health risk posing significant threats to the human race. Various vaccines have been developed to address the pandemic, but many Americans are hesitant to vaccination initiatives aimed at achieving herd immunity. The Interview between Dr. Goldenberg and Dr. Boyd, “Vaccine Access, Vaccine Hesitancy: Challenges to Herd Immunity,” addresses key reasons attributed to American’s reluctance to vaccination. This essay summarizes the interview, identifies reasons behind vaccine hesitance, ethical obligations to promote vaccine acceptance and access, and sustainable approaches and policies to achieve effective community vaccination strategies.
Dr. Boyd accentuates that hesitance is not unitary but a localized phenomenon responsive to people and communities’ historical and immediate relations to public health services, scientific organizations, and political influences. Hence, people’s confidence, vaccination embracement, or hesitation reflect their trust levels in the system. Besides government distrust, the other key factors contributing to vaccination hesitance include conspiracy theories, altitude and beliefs, inequitable distribution of healthcare services, ethnic prejudices, and political affiliations. Moreover, lack of access to reliable information and limited understanding of vaccination concepts attract uninformed conclusions, largely based on others’ opinions and beliefs.
Scientific research’s tendency to overlook the sociopsychology of how people incorporate research work into their decision-making processes and beliefs leads to hesitance. Many people, especially parents, perceive that the current government is incompetent to incorporate industry-funded research into public health and healthcare technologies. Such incorporation promotes corporate interests and compromises healthcare policies and regulations, posing significant public healthcare risks. Peoples’ skepticism of the industries’ ability to address vaccine justice and promote human health interests rather than corporate interests have influenced their hesitation to embrace the vaccine.
Industrial-funded research also presents ethical concerns. Such funding potentially compromises the Government and healthcare regulators’ obligations to the industries, especially economic power and market lobby. The media also focuses on addressing immediate vaccine coverage concerns, allowing the government to elude the public limelight. This elusion allows the government and industries to advance contracts, with the former acquiring revenues inform of free vaccines. Besides monetization, the current vaccine patent protection limits global youth coverage, prolonging the pandemic, raising ethical concerns on corporates’ global human health interests.
An increase in alternative epistemologies has resulted in citizen’s mistrust of experts, citing institutions and regulatory bodies’ pursuit of corporate interests. Thus, alternative bodies have emerged, gaining more public trust, despite their skeptical nature and lack of qualified experts to give viable conclusions compared to traditional regulatory bodies. Nevertheless, Dr. Boyd argues that embracing popular unsubstantiated perspectives about vaccination portrays an individual’s ignorance and disrespect to expertise.
In conclusion, corporates should waive intellectual property rights for the World Health Organization (WHO) to globally address ethical concerns and promote human health. It is essential to establish policies to enhance media coverage and equitable distribution of healthcare infrastructure. Although trust is neither necessary nor sufficient to procure medical services, the government should promote access to reliable information, particularly concerning vaccines. Access to such information enhances public awareness and promotes informed conclusions. Ultimately, Americans should embrace the evidence-based experts’ advice rather than epistemic expert opinions to promote quality decisions.
I concur with DR. Boyd’s remarks on epistemic capacity experts. People tend to make conclusions regarding critical topics based on certain people who possess educational and skills set exceeding their own. They also trust them based on perceived honesty and moral capacities, which are largely attributed to their status quo, assuming that they possess other people’s interests at heart. Such perception prompts people to overlook experts in particular scientific disciplines as they do not conform with the epistemic capacity expert’s characteristics.
Although structural concerns based on certain beliefs and attitudes contribute to African-American hesitation to vaccination, I perceive discrimination, social injustices, and ethnic prejudices have largely contributed to the predicament. Generally, studies acknowledge that African-Americans account for America’s least healthy ethnic groups, credited with decades’ legacy of ethnic discrimination, social injustices, and continued inequitable healthcare distribution. Thus, it is arguably logical to suggest that such disparities impede African-Americans, including other minority groups, from accessing sustainable healthcare services. As Dr. Goldenberg suggests, inequitable healthcare services, especially in rural areas, negatively impact healthcare facilities ‘ capacity and care quality, resulting in the observed vaccination rate disparities.