The public's role in COVID-19 vaccination: Human-centered recommendations to enhance pandemic vaccine awareness, access, and acceptance in the United States

Vaccine. 2021 Sep 24;39(40):6004-6012. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.10.059. Epub 2020 Oct 29.


Given the social and economic upheavals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders, health officials, and members of the public are eager for solutions. One of the most promising, if they can be successfully developed, is vaccines. While the technological development of such countermeasures is currently underway, a key social gap remains. Past experience in routine and crisis contexts demonstrates that uptake of vaccines is more complicated than simply making the technology available. Vaccine uptake, and especially the widespread acceptance of vaccines, is a social endeavor that requires consideration of human factors. To provide a starting place for this critical component of a future COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the United States, the 23-person Working Group on Readying Populations for COVID-19 Vaccines was formed. One outcome of this group is a synthesis of the major challenges and opportunities associated with a future COVID-19 vaccination campaign and empirically-informed recommendations to advance public understanding of, access to, and acceptance of vaccines that protect against SARS-CoV-2. While not inclusive of all possible steps than could or should be done to facilitate COVID-19 vaccination, the working group believes that the recommendations provided are essential for a successful vaccination program.

Keywords: COVID-19; Community engagement; Epidemic management/response; SARS-CoV-2; Vaccine confidence; Vaccine uptake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines*


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Vaccines