Dec. 3 Web Briefing: What Happens Once There is a COVID-19 Vaccine? Key Challenges to Vaccinating America

Encouraging reports about several COVID-19 vaccine candidates is raising hopes that there will soon be one or more vaccines proven safe and effective, starting a race to produce, distribute, and administer it to essential workers, people at high risk, and the public, including those who may start out with skepticism about the risks posed by COVID-19 and the safety and necessity of vaccination.

KFF held an interactive web briefing on Thursday, December 3 to walk through some of the key challenges that federal, state and local officials will face in setting priorities and quickly vaccinating enough residents to protect Americans’ health and allow the nation’s economy to fully reopen. The briefing addressed:

  • What polling data reveals about the public’s lack of trust in public health authorities, including among Republicans and Black Americans, and the challenges in overcoming vaccine hesitancy.
  • The latest on the federal government’s guidance and plans to ensure the rapid distribution of vaccine and how a Biden administration might revise them.
  • What state and local authorities are doing to identify who should get the vaccine first, lining up providers to administer it, and planning for public outreach and education efforts about where and how to get the vaccine and why getting vaccinated is important.
  • How government programs and private insurers would cover a vaccine, and the potential costs to patients who receive them.
  • The extent to which plans are prioritizing ensuring equitable access to a vaccine, particularly given the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on people of color.

Led by KFF President and CEO Drew Altman, the briefing included short presentations by Mollyann Brodie, Executive Vice President and Executive Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research; Jennifer Kates, Senior Vice President and Director of Global Health & HIV Policy; Samantha Artiga, Vice President and Director of Racial Equity and Health Policy; and Karyn Schwartz, Senior Fellow. The hour-long briefing included a question-and-answer session with the presenters and other KFF policy experts.

The conversation drew from KFF’s analysis and polling around the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine. KFF will soon launch a major new initiative to monitor the public’s evolving views about and experiences with a vaccine to inform public health authorities and policymakers developing and implementing vaccination plans.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.