I read a editorial in the Washington Post this morning from Dr. Leana Wen. where she laments the CDC being too timid in their guidelines for vaccinated people. She thinks that a timid version of guidelines for vaccinated people will encourage vaccine hesitancy. Why get the vaccine if they say you still shouldn’t travel, dine out or go to church? If vaccines don’t represent freedom then people who are already hesitant will wonder what is the point of the vaccine. As she says, it doesn’t pass the common sense test.
There has been a messaging issue from the beginning. There is the obvious:
Trump telling us early that the virus was not a big deal.
Fauci and others telling us early that we didn’t need to wear masks.
Leaders telling the public not to travel or gather and then traveling and gathering.
Changing the goalposts for decisions. Two weeks to flatten the curve turned into lockdown until hospital number are manageable turned into lockdown until we enough people vaccinated achieve herd immunity.
Using shame and scolding to try to encourage compliance. Just recently my County Executive, who has maintained all pandemic that his leadership will keep us safer than the governor blamed the face that our numbers are higher than anywhere in the state on us “not beg careful enough” Apparently nothing to do with the fact that we are slow to vaccinate here and he refuses to move to phase 1C with the rest of the state.
Telling us to wear masks and social distance to help end the pandemic and get back to normal and then saying over and over that the virus may never be completely gone and masks might be a requirement into 2022.
Turing the vaccine into a caste system where politicians decide who gets to be on the top and who is least important and on the bottom. People fighting to get themselves declared more important than others. People made to feel guilty if they get the vaccine when others feel that have “jumped the line”
This is just an extension of the fights that were encouraged over who is being more responsible during the pandemic. It became a thing to post on social media about how you felt you were the only person still being responsible and isolating. Or you are on the other side telling people they are cowards and need to live your life.
Inconsistent messaging, pitting people against each other, shaming, and scolding has done more harm than good in the pandemic response.