On a cold January afternoon, I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It was a day I won’t soon forget. As a practicing nurse, mom and CEO of HealthyWomen (which focuses on keeping women healthy!), I know firsthand how important it is to protect those around me — from my family and friends to patients and colleagues — and to set an example in my community.
I also know that vaccines are a critical public health tool that keep dangerous diseases in check. But how well they work depends on how many people receive them. In the U.S., socioeconomic and racial disparities and lack of access to care have created an uneven landscape of vaccine uptake. Despite their importance, vaccines aren’t readily available to — or readily accepted by — everyone. And, with endless information out there, it can be difficult to get just the facts.
That’s why I’m so excited that we’ve launched our in-depth vaccine education series. We talk to an immune specialist about how vaccines work, why it’s important to get all doses of a vaccine, herd immunity and more. We also uncover myths and facts and share what you need to know about adult vaccines and boosters.
It’s no secret that vaccines aren’t always easy to access and pay for — especially when you have no health insurance or when coverage falls short. HealthyWomen’s senior policy advisor, Martha Nolan, offers insight on how to prioritize your vaccines and where to find affordable ones. And health journalist Alex Fulton writes about common concerns of vaccine-hesitant people.
It was also important that we share common concerns among those who are vaccine hesitant. In her essay, “I Was An Anti-Vaxxer: Here’s What Changed My Mind,” Kristen O’Meara explains, “If we treat people questioning vaccine safety with empathy, it could make a world of difference.”
I hope that we answer your questions, help you learn something new and inspire you to take action.
Be safe and well,
This resource was created with support from Merck and Pfizer.