World Immunization Week | Vaccines Bring Us Closer

Published April 30, 2021

Professor Heidi Larson, Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, encourages everyone to get vaccinated and help bring an end to the pandemic.

Transcript: Hi, I'm Heidi Larson. I'm Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and a professor of anthropology-at-risk at IHME. And this is World Immunization Week. And the theme of it this year is vaccines bring us closer. It's not what some people think about vaccines, that they're controlling, and the government is controlling us.

Actually, vaccines liberate, particularly in the context of the current pandemic where lockdowns and masking have kept us apart, vaccines have an opportunity to bring us back together, but only if everyone's taking them, or at least enough to create the protective herd immunity, or community immunity. We're not there yet. We need 70% of the population. And actually, we need that in a lot of countries around the world, we need equity in protection. We need equity in liberation, so we can get past this pandemic.

We need to have confidence that we're doing the right thing too, because there have been recent reports of risks. They're extremely rare risks. We have to remember that over 800 million people around the world have been vaccinated with one of the vaccines against COVID. That's a lot of people. That's a lot of social proof and we're seeing the number of cases dropping thanks to vaccination, but we're not there yet, and we can't stop going if we really want to be brought closer together.

If you have any questions about the risks of vaccines, as rare as they are, make sure you talk to your doctor or your health care provider, so you know what to look for in case you're concerned. But they wouldn't let them be given if people weren't confident enough that it's the best thing to do, for you and for everyone. Get vaccinated.