Red Cross chief Francesco Rocca on Tuesday warned of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines and said distrust of health authorities "clearly facilitated transmission of the virus at all levels."
"To beat COVID-19, we also need to defeat the parallel pandemic of mistrust that has consistently hindered our collective response to this disease, and that could undermine our shared ability to vaccinate against it," he said during a virtual news conference ahead of a United Nations meeting on the virus this week.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel early Tuesday voted healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities should be the first to receive the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine. The recommendations must now be approved by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield.
The plan to distribute the vaccine is dependent on authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, which still has to approve emergency use applications from Pfizer and Moderna. Both companies have developed vaccine candidates that have proven to be over 90% effective in late-stage clinical trials.
Rocca said it is equally important to inform the public about the vaccine as it is to distribute it.
"We believe that the massive coordinated effort that will be needed to roll out the COVID vaccine in an equitable manner, needs to be paralleled by equally massive efforts to proactively build and protect trust," he said.
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