As repeated measles outbreaks demonstrate, we haven’t done a great job addressing people’s concerns about vaccines. And if we don’t learn from our failed response to them, a coronavirus vaccine program will be doomed.
The anti-vaccine movement was once linked primarily to wealthy white parents. Nowadays these views are expressed both by liberal parents, who align with “natural” health and parenting identities, and conservative parents, who emphasize their distrust of government and the importance of individual liberty.
Race matters, too: For some families of color, the sordid history of unethical experimentation on vulnerable communities makes them reluctant to vaccinate.
So far, the public health response has mainly focused on persuading people to accept vaccines through education and effective communication. But such an approach has proved to be largely unsuccessful. We need new strategies.