MSK is collaborating with a coalition of 60 of America’s top hospitals and healthcare institutions on a nationwide campaign to encourage adults to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The campaign, “Get the Vaccine to Save Lives,” is designed to reassure the public that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary to achieve herd immunity and a return to normal activities.
The campaign hopes to reach adults who are hesitant to receive a vaccine, including racial and minority ethnic groups and people living in rural communities. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published March 30, 17% of the public say they will take a wait-and-see approach before getting it themselves, and another 20% say they will never get a vaccine or will only get it if required to do so for work, school, or other activities. This leaves a significant portion of the population at risk of going unvaccinated.
MSK has been working to improve access to the COVID-19 vaccine in our community through a series of pop-up clinics. In late March, eligible MSK patients living in Brooklyn and Harlem had the opportunity to be vaccinated right in their own neighborhood at MSK’s Brooklyn Infusion Center and the Ralph Lauren Center. A partnership with the Nassau County Department of Health saw 400 residents vaccinated at a pop-up clinic at MSK Nassau throughout March and April. And MSK is currently staffing an ongoing New York City vaccine clinic located at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where 1,000 residents were vaccinated in the first week. These clinics are some of the ways MSK is working to get the vaccine to patients in communities that have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.
With vaccine distribution underway, this new campaign aims to help Americans feel safe and confident about receiving a vaccine. To achieve herd immunity and help end the pandemic, leading health officials say at least 75% of the population needs to receive a vaccine. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who have been vaccinated.
More than 195 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 48% of the population age 18 and over has received at least one vaccine dose in the U.S. through April 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.
COVID-19 vaccines are being offered to MSK patients who meet state guidelines. For people 16 and 17 years old, a parent or guardian must call their MSK doctor’s office to schedule a vaccination.
For more information about the campaign, please visit ourshot2savelives.org.