You've likely seen the headlines about covid-19 killing radio hosts and activists who opposed vaccines and masks. Several headlines were about Caleb Wallace, a Texan who helped organize a "freedom rally" this summer to protest mask-wearing. Some corners of the Internet reacted with ridicule to news of his death last month, sparing no thought to Wallace's grieving wife and daughters.
It's important that we all resist the impulse to scream "I told you so!" Mocking vaccine skeptics who've been fed misinformation won't convince people on the fence to get vaccinated.
A Census Bureau survey and polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that concerns about side effects or the newness of the vaccine and distrust in the government rank among the top reasons why people are hesitant to get the shots.
Sherri Mixon, executive director of the T.R. Hoover Community Development Center in South Dallas, said she's heartbroken because an unvaccinated family in her circle is both grieving a father who died from covid-19 and watching two adult sons struggle to survive in the hospital.
Mixon said people in her community can be leery when officials share information with them suddenly instead of gradually. The demographic groups that government officials are targeting for vaccination should be involved in crafting the message, she added.
"When this pandemic hit, a lot of the information didn't hit the doorsteps or mailboxes of the folks of this community," Mixon said. "That's the reason we took charge to search the net and call different agencies and provide that information out in [vaccine] registration lines."