Furthermore, the federal government needs to drastically increase its supply of vaccines. Scientists and health officials testified with these claims before the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology.
“Even people who are motivated and excited about the vaccine can be deterred by the smallest amount of friction in the system, whether that’s complex logistics, inconvenience or confusing instructions,” said Dr. Alison Buttenheim, scientific director for the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics.
Health officials have also been fighting misinformation claims that have deterred individuals from receiving the vaccine. “Fix the easy stuff,” Buttenheim said. “Frankly, fixing those hassle factors is often easier than changing someone’s mind.”
Dr. Philip Huang, director and health authority of the Dallas County health department, has been working to alleviate the “logistic and hassle factors” surrounding the vaccine process with a variety of methods. Online registration, phone banks, and drive-throughs are some of the methods that were implemented.
Keith Reed, deputy commissioner of Oklahoma’s state health department, has worked to extend time frames when individuals can sign up for vaccinations. “In order to vaccinate as many Oklahomans as possible, we’ve opened eligibility to new priority groups before entirely vaccinating earlier groups,” Reed said. “With this tactic, we hope to lengthen the window of opportunity.”
“The supply is the issue at this point,” Huang said. “We have over 650,000 people who signed up to be on our waiting list to get vaccine, and the health department’s getting 9,000 doses a week.”
Health officials have continued to state that all of the COVID vaccines in the US have prevented death, hospitalization, and severe illness.
“The best vaccine is the one you can get tomorrow,” Buttenheim said.