November 18, 2021
Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Navigating COVID-19 vaccination mandates and understanding the breakdown of the science behind each vaccine can be overwhelming. This is especially true for parents considering getting their children vaccinated or small business owners debating a required vaccination policy for employees.
The course of the pandemic in 2022 and beyond will depend on the continued development of COVID-19 vaccines and how much of the population receive them, including children. In a Path Forward conversation with Suzanne Clark, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, two expert panelists discuss trends in vaccination rates and development, and what can be done to continue the momentum of the country’s current efforts to fight the pandemic.
The Decision to Vaccinate Children Is Often Based on Parents' Vaccinations
When it comes to getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Americans have been divided, said Bill McInturff, partner at Public Opinion Strategies and pollster for NBC News.
“We're living now in an America where there are two [types of] Americans,” McInturff explained. “There's the 70% of Americans that have been vaccinated, and the 30% of Americans that have not been vaccinated, and this rolls over to what you do for your children.”
According to McInturff, parents often make a decision about their child’s COVID-19 vaccination based on their own vaccination status.“If you are vaccinated, a majority of those people say that they will have their children vaccinated immediately,” he continued. “If you're not vaccinated, that's only 3%. And those parents would say they will never have their children aged 5 to 11 vaccinated. That's over 60% of people who are not vaccinated themselves.”
Politics can play a role in these decisions, too. “If you’re a Democrat, 55% say that you'll have your child ages 5 to 11 vaccinated. If you’re Republican, that's only 11%,” said McInturff.
Small Businesses Play a Role in Encouraging COVID-19 Vaccinations
Employers and small business owners can play a large role in increasing the vaccination rate as well.
“In our other surveys, those people not vaccinated said they'd be the most likely to consider vaccination If it was something that their employers requested,” McInturff said.
It’s also important that employees see employers as an educated resource throughout the vaccination process.
“As an employer, you certainly could have a role to play in terms of providing accurate information for employees to make their own decision,” added McInturff.
Novavax’s Protein-Based COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be a ‘Global Solution’
In encouraging employees to get vaccinated, there will soon be another vaccine on the market to recommend. Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, says his company’s vaccine is protein-based, an approach that has been used for several vaccines in recent decades.
“This is significant for a couple of reasons,” Erck explained. “It has a good efficacy profile. It also has what we refer to as a benign safety profile that has fewer side effects than the other vaccines.”
The vaccine has already gone through multiple efficacy tests, said Erck: “We showed a 96% efficacy against the virus in a U.K. study, and 100% effectiveness against severe and moderate disease.”
Erck said Novavax has been focused on creating a vaccine that supports a diverse population, too.
“This is a global pandemic,” he said. “We need a global solution for it. And we think our vaccine fits that.”
Data Shows Vaccines Are Safe and Effective
The early days of COVID-19 vaccine development raised a lot of questions about safety and whether they would truly work. As new developments and data emerge, it’s becoming clear that “these vaccines are safe and they are all effective,” Erck said.
“The data are so clear that vaccines help,” he added. “The communication of that point should be made clear and everybody can help with that.”
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