Since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the USA in January, 2020, over 46 million people in the country have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Several COVID-19 vaccines have received emergency use authorisations from the US Food and Drug Administration, with the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine receiving full approval on Aug 23, 2021. When paired with masking, physical distancing, and ventilation, COVID-19 vaccines are the best intervention to sustainably control the pandemic. However, surveys have consistently found that a sizeable minority of US residents do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The most severe consequence of an inadequate uptake of COVID-19 vaccines has been sustained community transmission (including of the delta [B.1.617.2] variant, a surge of which began in July, 2021). Exacerbating the direct impact of the virus, a low uptake of COVID-19 vaccines will prolong the social and economic repercussions of the pandemic on families and communities, especially low-income and minority ethnic groups, into 2022, or even longer. The scale and challenges of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign are unprecedented. Therefore, through a series of recommendations, we present a coordinated, evidence-based education, communication, and behavioural intervention strategy that is likely to improve the success of COVID-19 vaccine programmes across the USA.
Read the full article by Hotez, et al., at The Lancet.