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The messaging on this vaccine was poorly executed. The information the public received seem to have been designed to be non-specific, general and therefore, vague. Underestimating the public by leaving gaps in the narrative about this vaccine left parents’ questions unanswered. Stepping into that space were those with a religious, sexual or anti-vaccine objection whose beliefs ran counter to the scientific facts, but were able to confuse the minimally informed public.
When public agencies underestimate the intelligence of the audience & deliberately craft news releases thinking they can control possible backlash, or don’t openly share the true rationale behind a general population vaccination they open the door to rumors spreading. Limiting information leads to public confusion and allows undeserving people to claim crediblity as they offer twisted interpretations that elevate suspicion. They design a narrative that serves their own purposes in opposition to what the medical community knows. Clear and open communication not paternalism is the key, trusting the public so they can trust the message.
The near eradication of Polio has demonstrated the savings in lives, suffering, and dollars that can come from effective vaccines.
Agree. I remember as a child how we all were taught to fear the summer. That’s when kids were struck by polio. And you actually saw schoolmates disappear to the disease. Then one day–was I in the 5th grade?– the Salk vaccine was announced. Every child in school was immunized. The scourge vanished. As did the horrible dread it brought to every family. When you’ve seen such miracles in your own life, you know what a gift to humanity the HPV vaccine is. These two researchers deserve our admiration.