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CEO DATELINE – Medical groups, broadcasters urge public to trust vaccine safety

Dec. 3, 2020
By Walt Williams

A trio of medical associations has published an open letter urging the public to trust the science behind vaccines as the U.S. prepares for a massive COVID-19 vaccine rollout. At the same time, the National Association of Broadcasters is partnering with journalists to identify effective strategies to teach people about the benefits of vaccines.

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In an open letter to the U.S. public by the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association, the groups affirmed their commitment “to ensuring COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and ultimately authorized through a rigorous scientific and regulatory process.” They noted vaccines eliminated smallpox, nearly eliminated chickenpox and polio, and saved countless lives over the years.

“We are committed as organizations to supporting a rigorous scientific and regulatory process by which COVID-19 vaccines are evaluated and may ultimately be approved,” the associations said. “Until our population has been broadly immunized, we continue urging that you protect yourself and others from the virus by taking three critical, scientifically proven steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19: Wear a face mask, maintain physical distancing, and wash your hands. These actions remain essential.”

At the same time, NAB announced it would work with Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute to identify effective COVID-19 vaccine education messaging. The two organizations will develop tools and resources for local radio and television broadcasters and other journalists to craft public health messages and educational programming that will best resonate with their communities, the association said in a statement.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, America’s hometown radio and TV stations have been on the front lines in providing accurate and trusted information to keep communities informed, educated and safe,” NAB CEO Gordon Smith said. “Now, with the promise of vaccines on the horizon, broadcasters will once again be a critical partner to government and health communities.”