We're selling the coronavirus vaccine short

“Trying to eliminate even the lowest-risk changes in behavior both underestimates people’s need to be close to one another and discourages the very thing that will get everyone out of this mess: vaccine uptake,” Harvard epidemiologist Julia Marcus wrote recently in the Atlantic.

The reality is that the vaccine will need to be actively sold to many Americans, yet as infectious-disease specialist Aaron Richterman told the New York Times, “We’re underselling the vaccine.”

Flashback: To some scientists, the problems around vaccine messaging are reminiscent of the confusion around masks at the start of the pandemic, when medical experts — in part out of concern they would be misused — initially discouraged their use.

That mistake worsened the pandemic and did lasting damage to public trust in science.