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Nakisa B. Sadeghi, a fourth-year medical student at the UNC School of Medicine, co-authored an article for the British Medical Journal titled, “As states reopen, incentivizing Americans to vaccinate against covid-19 is an urgent priority.

“The authorization of safe and effective covid-19 vaccines and subsequent efforts by the US government to increase supply and distribution are pivotal steps to end the coronavirus pandemic. An even greater barrier lies ahead: overcoming vaccine hesitancy.

“Experts estimate that approximately 70 to 85 percent of the US population would need to be immune to covid-19 through vaccination or recovery from covid to reach herd immunity. Given that children aged 12 and under will likely not be eligible for vaccination until 2022, reaching this threshold will require a substantial majority of the adult population to be vaccinated in the next several months.

“Yet, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February 2021, nearly one in three respondents said that they would not receive the covid-19 vaccine if it were available to them. A study by Kaiser Family Foundation found that the majority who said no to vaccination identified specific and nuanced concerns rather than expressed absolute opposition to vaccination in general. This suggests that a critical segment of the population may be receptive to efforts to encourage vaccination.”

Read the entire piece, co-written by Leana Wen, visiting professor of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University’s School of Public Health.